Former Span and Real Madrid footballer Alvaro Arbeloa, now a Real Madrid Foundation Ambassador speaks to young football fans at the St Mary’s College Grounds, Port of Spain, yesterday.

ATLANTIC has vowed to continue using sport to boost youth development and national sustainability, as it celebrated its partnership with the Real Madrid Foundation yesterday, at the St Mary’s College Grounds, Port of Spain. The company held a ceremony for the Atlantic/Real Madrid Foundation Social Sports School, which saw World Cup winner and Champions League winner Spaniard Alvara Arbeloa, give a speech on how to use sport as a tool for social positivity.

Speaking on behalf of Atlantic, vice-president of corporate operations Toni Sirju-Ramnarine opened proceedings. She pledged to continue this kind of work to make a tangible impact on the nation’s youth, and to also bring to the country iconic sport ambassadors the kids “can aspire to” such as the former Spanish international.

“I remember meeting Mateo (Figueroa Tobon, Real Madrid Foundation Representative) seven years ago when former national footballer and icon, Ron La Forest and I started this journey with the Real Madrid Foundation. It was a meeting, not only of minds, but also of hearts because we all believed in the power of sport, and the lessons it can teach on and off the field of play. Lessons about teamwork, sportsmanship, work ethic, resilience, dedication and victory,” she said.

Sirju-Ramnarine also promised the company’s corporate ventures will continue to facilitate strategic interventions, not just across all sporting disciplines, but in the fields of education and family care. She praised La Forest’s vision, as well as ex-national footballer, Clint Marcelle, and the other coaches for bringing the Atlantic/Real Madrid Foundation Social Sports School to life. The event was commemorated by Arbeloa meeting the 150 children participating in the school, an exhibition match, as well as an exchange of jerseys which saw Atlantic receive a Real Madrid jersey signed by the current squad.

Arbeloa made the hand-over and participated in drills with the kids, signing autographs for participants and fans, while meeting and greeting the general public. In his speech, he said, “It’s a great pleasure to be here in Trinidad and Tobago. It’s my first time and we at Real Madrid are proud to be part of this partnership. We are very happy to be making this impact on hundreds of kids and we must thank Atlantic for the opportunity. On behalf of Real Madrid president, Florentino Perez, and the current team, we thank you. And also, as important as it is to win in football, you must also succeed in school!”