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France legend Marcel Desailly inspires football spirit at Jumeirah Vittaveli in Maldives



Former France international Marcel Desailly has visited the Maldives twice before, the latest being a couple of years back. The football legend is back in the island paradise for a third time, and he could not be happier. In fact, he is so happy that he has already shared with his fans around the world his signature “Ah Ha Ha Ha” laugh from the turquoise waters surrounding Jumeirah Vittaveli, where he is staying.

 “This place is just amazing! It’s so great to be here,” Desailly told Maldives Insider.

“You’ve preserved your environment. It’s well-organised. The community is benefitting [from] the works done by the hotels in the system. Tourism is something very important [to] you. Tourism and sports; those can be very effective here.”

True to that understanding, his third visit to the Maldives is special. Desailly has already graced the opening ceremony of Ooredoo Dhivehi Premier League — the Maldives’ top football league — and shared his inspiration with fellow professional footballers from the island nation that aspire to follow in the footsteps of legends like him.

And just a day before ending his six-day visit to the Maldives, Desailly inspired the spirit of football in an altogether different bunch of people; the team members at Jumeirah Vittaveli. The friendly fustal match was held Monday afternoon at the futsal grounds of the island resort, and was played between a team led by The Rock — a nickname he has been given due to his consistency, strength and hard-tackling playing style — and another selected from amongst the resort staff.

France football legend Marcel Desailly plays futsal with the staff at Jumeirah Vittaveli on Monday. PHOTO/ JUMEIRAH

On the pitch, the former defensive midfielder awed the spectators, comprising staff members as well as several guests holidaying on the island, with his skills, and played an instrumental role in leading his team to an 8-4 win.

But the most defining moment came right after the 40-minute game, when he just could not get off the pitch! Improvising the carefully curated programme for the afternoon, the former AC Milan and Chelsea star went on teaching football tactics to some enthusiastic staff members.

“We’re always here to promote football, from the grassroots. … But [when you’re in the Maldives], you’ve holiday, entertainment, and you promote my passion, which is sports,” he said.

France football legend Marcel Desailly coaches a staff member after the futsal match at Jumeirah Vittaveli on Monday.

Desailly was presented with a plaque by Amit Majumder, the General Manager at Jumeirah Vittaveli, as he thanked the Frenchman for staying at the resort. Desailly, on his part, heaped praise on the resort, describing it as “the full package”.

“Good hotel. Good food. … I was given a very warm welcome,” he said.

Amit Majumder, the General Manager at Jumeirah Vittaveli, presents a plaque to France football legend Marcel Desailly after the futsal match at the resort on Monday.

Located a short 20-minute ride aboard a luxurious motorised catamaran from the main Velana International Airport, Jumeirah Vittaveli offers unmatched diversity, subtle luxury and personalised exploration, whether you are seeking a romantic getaway or an exotic destination for your family.

In addition to the recently launched Royal Residence, the resort comprises of 89 villas and suites each with their own swimming pool and direct access to the beach or lagoon. The private and spacious villas are available with one or two bedrooms making them the ideal accommodation for both families and couples. Highlights are the free-standing Ocean Suites, located only a heartbeat away from the main island and accessible by complimentary boat service.

France legend Marcel Desailly autographs a football for Jumeirah Vittaveli General Manager Amit Majumder after the futsal match at the resort on Monday. PHOTO/ JUMEIRAH

In the Maldives, Desailly, who was a member of the France international squads that won the 1998 World Cup and Euro 2000, also spoke about the latest happenings in the world of international football, including Barcelona star Neymar’s recent move to Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) in a record-breaking €222 million deal.

“I’m part of the people who don’t see any problem with it. You deal with talent. For a film, when they invest [USD] 400 million to make a movie, and they pay Brad Pitt for three months of work USD 30 million, nobody says anything,” he told Mohamed Hamdhoon, a sports journalist from local daily Mihaaru, after the futsal match with the Jumeirah Vittaveli team.

“I consider that Neymar coming to France will raise the profile of Paris Saint-Germain. Paris Saint-Germain will have a huge return on sponsorship and they will gain on merchandising. It’s business. It’s the fans and the media that have to understand that football has now become a business on its own. Taxi driver, tourism, broadcast, hotel — everybody will benefit. The Chinese will come to Paris again more and more to have a look at the picture of Neymar and to have a look at the stadium.”

After sharing his passion for football with professionals as well as his hosts at Jumeirah Vittaveli, Desailly leaves the Maldives on Tuesday, but only to return. Like many sports legends, including Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima, Cristiano Ronaldo, David Beckham, Carlos Tevez, Arjen Robben, Miroslav Klose and Franz Beckenbauer, Desailly has also fallen in love with the white sand beaches and the blue skies of the Maldives.


Catch the wind with Kitesurfing World Champion Youri Zoon at COMO Cocoa Island



Embark on an exhilarating kitesurfing odyssey from May 6th to 20th, 2024, at COMO Cocoa Island alongside Youri Zoon, celebrated for seizing the kitesurfing world championship twice. Under his seasoned guidance, amplify your kitesurfing prowess, whether you’re a neophyte craving the fundamentals or a seasoned aficionado striving for intricate manoeuvres and airborne thrills.

Kitesurfing merges windsurfing, surfing, and wakeboarding for a dynamic water sport. Using controllable kites, riders harness wind power to glide across the ocean’s surface while being set against the backdrop of endless horizons and azure waters.

Throughout his residency, Zoon will conduct guided kitesurfing sessions, offering novices a gentle introduction to the sport or empowering veterans to elevate their abilities. Additionally, Zoon will host enlightening COMO Conversations, delving into his personal journey to kitesurfing eminence and the obstacles he surmounted along the way.

Guests may arrange activities with Zoon at their leisure, with plenty of time to make the most of our private island comforts, from massage treatments at COMO Shambhala to sandbank dinners under the stars and more.

Hailing from the Netherlands, Zoon’s affinity for kiteboarding burgeoned at the tender age of 13. A prodigious talent, he swiftly amassed accolades, securing victories at the Junior European Championships and Dutch Nationals in his inaugural year. Subsequently clinching the world title in 2011 and 2012, Zoon’s enduring passion for the sport fuels his ongoing commitment to mentorship and coaching, ensuring his legacy endures both on and off the water.

Nestled within South Male Atoll, COMO Cocoa Island beckons discerning travelers with its intimate enclave of 33 overwater villas. Renowned for its iconic Dhoni Water Villas, which pay homage to Maldivian maritime heritage, this idyllic retreat offers a sanctuary of tranquillity and indulgence. Accessible via a scenic 40-minute speedboat journey from Velana International Airport, COMO Cocoa Island promises an unrivalled blend of luxury and seclusion.

For details on COMO Hotels and Resorts or to plan your next escape, please visit

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Sheraton Maldives hosts successful second season of Full Moon Futsal Cup



Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa celebrated the culmination of the highly anticipated Full Moon Futsal Cup on March 31, 2024. The tournament, which commenced on March 17th, brought together 12 teams from neighboring resorts in Malé Atoll, fostering a spirit of friendly competition and camaraderie.

SO/ Maldives emerged victorious after a thrilling final match, securing the coveted title of Full Moon Futsal Cup Champions 2024. Mohamed El Aghoury, General Manager of Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa, presented the winning team with the Championship trophy and gold medals during a closing ceremony. Additional prizes, medals, and certificates were awarded to recognize the exceptional talent displayed by all participants.

“We are honored to have hosted and participated in such a vibrant tournament,” Mohamed El Aghoury commented, reflecting on the event’s success. “The Full Moon Futsal Cup celebrates not only sportsmanship but also fosters strong bonds within the resort community.”

Throughout the tournament, all teams showcased exceptional skill, determination, and teamwork, captivating spectators and fellow competitors alike. Notably, Sheraton Maldives’ own associate teams, Team Sheraton and Team Furana FC, participated with commendable spirit.

This involvement aligns with Marriott International’s Associate Resource Groups (ARGs) initiative, which prioritizes fostering an inclusive workplace where employees feel valued. The participation of the Young Professionals ARG team specifically exemplifies the group’s dedication to community building, skill development, and mentorship. The tournament provided a platform to spotlight the energy and potential of young professionals, promoting their growth and contributing to the organization’s future success.

Extending beyond a sporting event, the Full Moon Futsal Cup embodies the values of unity, friendship, and healthy competition. This aligns with Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa’s commitment to fostering community connections and Marriott International’s TakeCare philosophy, which emphasizes the importance of physical well-being among associates.

The Sheraton Maldives Full Moon Resort & Spa extends its sincere gratitude to all participating teams, supporters, sponsors, and organizers who contributed to the resounding success of the Full Moon Futsal Cup 2024. The resort eagerly anticipates continuing this tradition of sporting excellence and camaraderie in the years to come.

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Dive into memorable underwater adventure with Baros Maldives’s Eco Explorer Experience



In today’s world, where the fragile balance of marine ecosystems teeters on the edge, to call for sustainable tourism practices resonates louder than ever. Baros Maldives, deeply rooted in its respect for nature, leads the way in conservation and preservation. Baros’s Eco Explorer Experience stands as a testament to the island’s commitment, inviting guests to not just observe but to actively contribute to the safeguarding of our underwater sanctuaries.

Nestled on a lush, natural island paradise, Baros is a sanctuary surrounded by a kaleidoscope of marine life, boasting a world-class house reef, celebrated for its unparalleled beauty and biodiversity, attracting adventurers and nature lovers alike.

The Eco Explorer Experience is a carefully curated immersive experience designed for those who seek to delve deeper into the mysteries of the ocean. This experience is more than an adventure; it’s a journey of discovery and contribution, offering intimate encounters with the marvels of the sea, all while promoting marine conservation.

With this experience, Baros guests enjoy a myriad of enriching activities, culminating in a bespoke photobook documenting the essence of their Eco Explorer journey beneath the waves.

Coral Restoration and Conservation: Participants will immerse themselves in coral ecology, by planting personal coral gardens under the guidance of Baros’s resident Marine Biologist. This hands -on experience not only fosters coral growth but also contributes to the restoration of these vital habitats. Through the Coral Cube initiative, guests will apply innovative techniques like using fast plug cement to build thriving underwater ecosystems. The Baros marine team will share bi-annual updates with the guests so that they can follow the growth of their corals.

Marine Life Identification: This educational session equips guests with the knowledge to identify different fish species and understand their vital roles within the marine ecosystem. Equipped with snorkelling gear and new insights, guests will explore Baros’s world- class house reef during a snorkelling tour, guided by the resident marine biologist, to witness the vibrant marine life.

Night Snorkelling and Bioluminescence: As night falls, the reef reveals a different kind of beauty. With UV lights, guests will explore this nocturnal wonderland, observing the reef’s inhabitants in a new light. This magical experience is not only enchanting but also educational, offering insights into coral health and the ecosystem’s delicate balance.

Baros recognises the fragility of the marine environment and is committed to fostering sustainable tourism practices. The Eco Explorer Experience is more than a holiday activity, it’s an invitation to become part of a larger movement, advocating for the protection and preservation of our marine environments.

Join the Baros marine team on this extraordinary journey. Together, dive deeper, explore further, and unveil the boundless wonders of the ocean, ensuring they remain vibrant for generations to come.

For bookings and more information, please visit or contact Baros directly at or call +960 664 26 72.

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