FIFA President Mr. Blatter, ladies and gentlemen.
I am very proud to be able to attend this wonderful ceremony for the FIFA Ballon d’Or.
It is simply the greatest honour to be presented with the prestigious FIFA Presidential Award.
In 1979, Mr. Blatter was part of the FIFA organising committee at the second FIFA World Youth Championship in Japan, where 19-year-old Diego Maradona played.
Unfortunately, my English has not made any progress since that tournament, so I was a little bit hesitant about actually coming to the ceremony today. But my young friends in Japan were very encouraging and said I must come – if only to meet Manuel Neuer, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi. They told me not to forget to bring them back some autographs.
Thank you very much.
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