Legends celebrate FIFA's Birthday

Legends celebrate FIFA's Birthday

FIFA was born on 21 May 1904 and with world football's governing body celebrating its 120th anniversary today, a host of FIFA Legends took time out to look back at some of their most memorable moments.


Cafu, Brazil:

"My fondest (FIFA) World Cup memory is lifting the World Cup in 2002. Nothing tops that. Being the world champion in 2002 and lifting the trophy. Fantastic!"

Arsene Wenger.

Arsene Wenger, FIFA's Chief of Global Football Development:

"Today we celebrate 120 years of FIFA. It has been a long journey and I am delighted to have been a part of it since 2019. Through the years we have seen the evolution of the game, of players, new rules in place, new coaches programs and together it has brought football to the finest level for professionals. What we are putting in place now throughout the world with the development of football academies is to give every young talent a chance to shine and to express his or her talent. To become a complete athlete and the best player ever. This brings FIFA's mission to another level. An even bigger one. We take this responsibility seriously and we are committed to excel."

Sanjeevan Balasingam.

Sanjeevan Balasingam, Director Member Associations Asia/Oceania:

We have come a long way from when FIFA was founded in Paris in 1904. With 211 Members Associations, football has now become truly global and is played in every corner of the planet. As FIFA has grown, we have seen the positive impacts on development in Asia/Oceania, driven both by an ever-expanding presence of major tournaments highlighted by the FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan 2002 and more recently the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and the FIFA Women's' World Cup Australia/New Zealand 2023. The FIFA footprint is also present through the comprehensive development programs and funding via FIFA Forward that is driving the game in this region of the world to new heights.

Carli Lloyd.

Carli Lloyd, USA:

"I'd have to say the 2015 [FIFA Women's] World Cup. We hadn't won since the 1999 Women's World Cup, so it had been 16 long years, and the momentum was building. We had lost in 2011 to Japan in the Final, and then played them in the 2015 Final. And it was just … in epic fashion... winning 5-2 and just an unbelievable moment in Vancouver, Canada."


David Trezeguet, France:

"For me, the most important moment was winning the (FIFA) World Cup in 1998 with France, and then on an emotional level I was able to experience the Champs-Élysées. There was a huge crowd and it was a huge party. In France, beyond the football itself, there was a great social union, on a cultural and religious level, and it was a very important event."


Anja Mittag, Germany:

"My best memory is winning the [FIFA Women's World Cup] title with Germany in China in 2007. That's definitely one of the most memorable experiences I could have had. The whole tournament, being there, experiencing everything. But also the junior tournaments: Playing an U-19 World Cup for the first time, which, back then, was still an U-19 tournament. And to partake in that, which incidentally took place in Thailand, was one of my most treasured experiences."

Aya Miyama, Japan.

Aya Miyama, Japan:

"My favourite FIFA tournament memory is the tournament [FIFA World Cup] in France in 1998. At that time, I watched all the games in the tournament on TV in Japan for the first time."

Gaelle - Cameroon.

Gaelle Enganamouit, Cameroon:

"My favourite memory was back on the 8th of June at Canada 2015. It was the day before my birthday, and we played on the night of 8th/ 9th of June. As I was born on the 9th of June, it was like a birthday gift to me to be playing in my first ever FIFA game. That's my favourite football memory. I scored a hat-trick, so it was a nice birthday present."


Christian Karembeu, New Caledonia:

"I have followed several World Cups and I have many images in mind. My first World Cup experience was watching it on TV, when I saw Diego Maradona lifting his first World Cup trophy with Argentina. I've admittedly managed to take part in a World Cup as a professional [footballer] with Les Bleus in France, and that competition was unifying for the country."

Sami Khedira, Germany.

Sami Khedira, Germany:

"It's no big secret: the 2014 World Cup in Brazil! The two main things I remember are the Final that we managed to win and getting our hands on that beautiful trophy, and of course the legendary semi-final that we won 7-1 against Brazil. Not just the scoreline, but also the way we won. It was such a fantastic experience for us Germans that we will never forget."


Formiga, Brazil:

"One of the memories that I have from the FIFA (Women's) World Cup is from 1995, which was my first time taking part at 17 years of age. I was learning the ropes at that time. Another memory that I have is from 2007, not just the semi-final, but the Final as well. We asked for support from Brazil because we needed you [Brazil] out there on the pitch, those are the memories that I have."

Alessandro Altobelli, Italy.

Alessandro Altobelli, Italy:

"Winning the (FIFA) World Cup in 1982 in Spain. When the referee blew the final whistle, we all breathed a sigh of relief and dropped to the ground. We won the (FIFA) World Cup, after beating Argentina, Brazil and Germany. It was such an achievement."

Mehdi Mahdavikia, IR Iran.

Mehdi Mahdavikia, IR Iran:

"My favourite memory of a FIFA tournament is the World Cup 1998 in France. It was the first time I played for my national team at a World Cup and it was the first time we qualified in 20 years. I was a young player and I scored a goal against the United States at the age of 21. It was a very special moment for me."

John Obi Mikel, Nigeria.

John Obi Mikel, Nigeria:

"I think 2014 in Brazil was pretty special. It's always special when you play a tournament in Brazil, the country that has won the most (FIFA) World Cups. Brazil is always a country where football is special. People enjoy, live, breathe, eat football, so for me to be able to participate in a World Cup there was pretty special for me."

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