Gazprom's international children's social programme Football for Friendship (F4F) gathers young players and journalists from around the world to participate in a range of events that aim to bring cultures together to promote fundamental values. Euronews met some of the young talents at the 2019 edition in Madrid.
Theo Bua turned 13-years-old five days before flying to Spain’s capital from his home country Sweden.
“I am representing the Swedish delegation”, he told Euronews proudly.
When he grows up, he’d like to become either a professional chess player, or a football player: “I don’t know yet, but thank you for bringing me to Madrid with Football for Friendship!”
Bua thinks that everyone should get familiar with the initiative. “People should know about F4F because it can unite people, and it’s just fun. Coming to Madrid to watch the Champions League final? Heck yeah!”
The golden finish of Gazprom’s F4F seventh season was the opportunity to attend the UEFA Champions League final a tradition as of last year when it was swapped out for the World Cup final.
Bua is part of the more than 6,000 participants that have taken part in the initiative who are “changing the world – and the minds of thousands,” according to Miquel Puig, CEO of the Soccer Barcelona Youth Academy.
Here are some of Euronews' questions for Bua:
Do you think Football can help people?
“It can help because it can unite people from different nations and show them that everybody has passions, even if countries are in war or something like that,” he said.
“And then it’s healthy for people, of course, it’s physically healthy as well,” he added.
The intellectual takeaway of F4F should not to be overlooked, said Bua.
“It's fun because you learn new things and you hear people speaking in different languages, instead of, when you play in your country everybody’s speaking the same language,”
Have you made special new friends?
“Yes, my roommates. One of them is from Bolivia and one of them from Poland,” Bua told Euronews.
“[F4F] is nice because you see how people from different countries play football.”
Bua said language was rarely a barrier and that if it ever gets in the way “you can use hand gestures.”