The soccer stars and United Nations Goodwill Ambassadors Ronaldo and Zine'dine Zidane announced on Monday that proceeds from the next UN all-star charity game will go to the world body's continuing efforts to fight the food crisis in the Horn of Africa.
The two former World Cup champions and FIFA Players of the Year will lead a team against German side Hamburger Sport-Verein (HSV) in the Match Against Poverty, a yearly event aimed at reminding people about the anti-poverty Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
"I am proud of the success of the Match Against Poverty and very honoured that clubs such as HSV have offered to host the event," said Ronaldo, who has been at the helm of the initiative since its inception in 2003.
This year's match will be played at Hamburg's Imtech Arena on Dec 13.
"Through the 2011 edition in Hamburg we hope we will be able to raise both awareness and funds for the people in need in the Horn of Africa," Zidane said, referring to the ongoing famine and drought which has affected more than 13 million people.
"And, while I obviously hope to win," he added, "the Match Against Poverty is much more than a game: it is part of the global fight against poverty."
The UN Development Programme (UNDP), which will receive two thirds of the match proceeds, said it will use them to bolster humanitarian efforts in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, where the UN is providing food, water, shelter and health services to those afflicted.
UNDP Administrator Helen Clark emphasized the need to increase all humanitarian actions in the affected countries.
"We need to scale up these humanitarian actions to reach those in need before it is too late," she said. "At the same time, we must also focus on longer term solutions so that families are better able to cope when this kind of crisis hits."
Proceeds from previous Matches Against Poverty have benefited projects in more than 27 developing countries, including recovery efforts in the wake of the 2010 Haiti earthquake and Pakistan floods.