FIFA can today announce that two Argentinian football legends, Diego Maradona and Pablo Aimar, will participate in the draw for the FIFA U-20 World Cup Korea Republic 2017, to be held at the Suwon Artrium on 15 March 2017. Maradona and Aimar are no strangers to the U-20 World Cup as they both won it as players – Maradona in Japan in 1979 and Aimar in Malaysia in 1997.
FIFA and the LOC said: “We are very pleased to announce that two of the biggest stars from the history of the FIFA U-20 World Cup will take part in the draw for this year’s competition. This will be a fantastic inspiration for the football stars of the future and the fans who will come together in Korea Republic two months from now.”
“It is with great emotion that I will travel to Korea Republic to take part in the draw. It will take me back to where it all started for me, with my first major title in 1979. The U-20 World Cup is the pinnacle for every young player and hopefully this year we will see the Maradonas and Aimars of the future,” said Maradona.
“I feel very honoured to be taking part in this event. I have very fond memories of the tournament we won in 1997. It meant the kick-off of a great footballing career for me and for many of my team-mates,” added Aimar.
Maradona, one of the greatest players in football history, won the U-20 World Cup in 1979 before winning the FIFA World Cup™ seven years later at Mexico 1986 and reaching another final four years later at Italy 1990. He played for several top clubs including Boca Juniors, FC Barcelona, S.S.C. Napoli and Sevilla FC, and also coached La Albiceleste at the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. He recently joined the FIFA Legends, and this will be the first time that he has set foot on Korean soil in 22 years since his last visit with Boca Juniors.
Aimar, one of the most creative and elegant Argentinian midfielders, started his career at River Plate and later played for Valencia CF and Real Zaragoza in Spain as well as for Benfica in Portugal. He was part of the Argentinian golden generation that won the U-20 World Cup in 1997 alongside the likes of Juan Román Riquelme, Esteban Cambiasso, Walter Samuel and Diego Placente.
Besides participating in the draw, the two legends will appear in activities with fans on 14 March in Suwon. The details will be announced in due course.
The draw on 15 March will also be attended by officials from the participating teams, FIFA and the host cities. The event will be covered live on FIFA.com and by local SBS, KBS and MBC TV.