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 Tuesday, 1 February, 2000, 21:02 GMT
Ronaldo tackles global poverty
Ronaldo dons headphones at the UN
The BBC's Geneva correspondent, Claire Doole, reports on the naming of the Brazilian football star as a United Nations goodwill ambassador against poverty.

The UN's Geneva headquarters has never been so popular.

Security guards had to stop the traffic as it was besieged by more than a thousand children who ha'd turned up to see their favourite football star, Brazilian striker Ronaldo.
When I score a goal I bring joy to people. I hope that I can soon bring joy not only to my fans but to those living below the poverty line

Ronaldo
His form may have waned since Brazil's defeat in the 1998 World Cup final but the 23-year-old from the back streets of Rio de Janeiro told reporters he hoped to be playing for Inter Milan this spring.

It was not, however, his footballing skills that drew the crowds but his new role as UN ambassador against poverty.

As a child, he said, he had often gone hungry and he knew what it was like to be poor.

Now, with his wealth and celebrity status, he wanted to mobilise the rich to help end world poverty.

Ronaldo is no stranger to humanitarian action.

Two years ago he became involved with the UN Aids campaign and last year went to Kosovo for the UN Development Programme.

He plans a return visit to the province as well as trips to Brazil and Africa.

He stressed that his new role will fit round his footballing commitments.

"When I score a goal," he told journalists, "I bring joy to people. I hope that I can soon bring joy not only to my fans but to those living below the poverty line."

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