Italian football legend Zenga pays glowing tribute to Dubai

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Aden - Yasmine El Tohamy - Italian football icon Walter Zenga at the Dubai Sports World. (Photo by Juidin Bernarrd)

Zenga says the UAE is only place in the world that can provide outstanding facilities even during a pandemic

Italian football icon Walter Zenga has paid a glowing tribute to Dubai - a city his family calls home. Zenga was stranded in Italy when the Covid-19 pandemic left his country battered and bruised, separating him from his family in Dubai.

The legendary shot stopper whose record of not conceding a goal for 518 minutes in the 1990 World Cup still stands, admitted that being away from his family during the pandemic was the toughest phase of his life.

"I don't want to look back again at what happened three months ago when so many people died in Italy," Zenga told Al Khaleej Today.

"It was tough because I was in Italy and I couldn't come here to the UAE to meet my family. It was a very difficult moment. So I learned from that moment that life is very important."

The former Al Nasr coach was bowled over by the amazing facilities at the Dubai Sports World where participants could enjoy sporting activities in a safe environment.

Zenga says the UAE is only place in the world that can provide such outstanding facilities amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

"It's amazing here, because you can see the focus on safety as soon as you enter. You get your temperature checked at the main entrance and you have sanitisers and signage everywhere," he said after vising the Dubai Sports World at the World Trade Centre.

"Dubai Sports World is amazing also because you find yourself in a place which offers you the opportunity to play so many different sports under one roof. Tell me one place in the world where you can go inside and play football, tennis, padel, volleyball, basketball. everything. If you take a look around, you will find such an amazing place only in Dubai.

"The Dubai Sports Council have done an amazing job here and provided a great solution to improve football, improve sports and to invite kids to play sports."

The Inter Milan legend then acknowledged that it wasn't easy to get football back again after the pandemic had disrupted the leagues in March.

Four of the five major leagues in Europe have completed their seasons after the Covid-19-enforced break. And the Champions League and the Europa League have resumed their competitions in a bio-secure environment.

"It was very difficult. At one moment, everybody thought that it was done. Then step by step, everywhere they finished the season, they brought the matches back and now they are finding a solution in the Champions League and the Europa League," Zenga said.

"You know in life, we always have problems, but we also have solutions. So you have to always focus on the solutions."

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