Football legends Carles Puyol, Scott Parker, Joey Barton play friendly match at Jumeirah Vittaveli

Jumeirah Vittaveli has hosted an all-star celebrity football match, featuring legendary players Carles Puyol, Scott Parker and Joey Barton.

Colleagues and guests were invited to join the match, which took place at the resort’s own BOLI stadium last weekend. It was watched by dozens of guests and colleagues alike, all cheering on the skilful game on the grass.

Puyol and Parker played in one team, while Barton and one of Parker’s sons played in the other, flanked by Jumeirah Vittaveli colleagues and guests. The teams played for two halves of 15 minutes each, and treated their audience to some truly show stopping saves and goals.

The final score stood at 10-7 for the team with Puyol and Parker.

At the end of the match, Puyol, Parker, Barton and Gianluca Zambrotta who joined the match as a spectator were all given commemorative plaques by Amit Majumder, the General Manager of Jumeirah Vittaveli. A football was ceremonially signed by each.

Puyol, the long-time captain for Barcelona and part of the Spanish national squad that won the Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup, is regarded as one of the best defenders of his generation, and has captained the Barcelona team for a memorable 10 years.

Puyol spent some quality time with his family at Jumeirah Vittaveli and enjoyed his stay at the Royal Residence, the lavish 3,500 square metre private beachfront retreat that opened in March.

“It’s been a great pleasure to participate in the friendly football match with the colleagues at Jumeirah Vittaveli! I love football and it’s wonderful to see how passionate everyone here is about my favourite sport! To be able to play with such a diverse team, with its members from so many different nationalities, and all that on a tiny island in the Maldives, is truly exceptional. The goalkeeper in my team was especially outstanding and I hope I’ll get to have him on my team again when I come back,” comments Puyol.

“But it’s not just the players, everyone on the resort is so warm and welcoming. We are staying at the Royal Residence and I don’t think I could ask for a more luxurious or comfortable holiday.”

Parker is a former English professional football player who was signed by Chelsea, Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspurs and Fulham amongst others. His career spanned 20 years and he played 119 league matches for Fulham in both the Premier League and the Championship.

Parker was so kind to bring memorabilia from his former club, the Tottenham Hotspurs — he brought two of the jerseys he himself used to wear when playing for the club, in addition to two sets of football boots. These thoughtful and generous souvenirs were handed over to the colleagues of Jumeirah Vittaveli, many of whom are passionate football fans and could not believe their luck to be meeting one of their personal football heroes and receiving souvenirs from their favourite club on top of it.

After a quick group picture, Parker immediately went on to start a small training session together with his sons, where he taught some of his special tricks and skills to Jumeirah Vittaveli colleagues.

“This vacation was my first chance to be with my family and travel since I retired last year and I can’t think of a more perfect place to have come to than Jumeirah Vittaveli. My kids love football and to be able to travel to a country where everyone has such a love for the game is amazing. Being able to play football with my sons and have an amazing time on this vacation made it just so special,” said Parker, when handing over the club souvenirs.

Barton is an English professional footballer who plays as a midfielder. He has made 240 appearances in the Premier League, including 130 for Manchester City.

Zambrottais an Italian former professional footballer, who played as a full-back for such notable clubs as Milan, Juventus, and Barcelona. He played at three FIFA World Cups, three UEFA European Championships, and was a key member of the starting line-up of the Italian squad that won the 2006 World Cup.

Located a short 20-minute ride on board a luxurious motorised catamaran from capital, 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 new Royal Residence, which was recently recognised as Indian Ocean’s Leading Luxury Hotel Villa at the World Travel Awards, Jumeirah Vittaveli comprises 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.

For the evenings, guests have the choice of a culinary journey through India in the resort’s signature restaurant Swarna, or an overwater fine dining experience featuring French cuisine at Fenesse.

The Talise spa at Jumeirah Vittaveli has been named Best Luxury Wellness Spa in Maldives by the World Travel Awards in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Treatments at the spa are inspired by concepts of light and space connecting with the purity and vibration of ingredients. The team produces their own island made 100 percent pure coconut oil, which is used in treatments and available as a take-home souvenir. The garden and overwater treatment rooms provide romantic spaces for couples who wish to enjoy blissful relaxation, while the spa menu also includes dedicated Mother-Daughter and Father-Son pampering sessions.

For those seeking adventure, the island’s water sports centre offers flyboarding. For those looking to experience the wonder of the underwater world of the Maldives, there are diving and snorkelling excursions to see turtles and magnificent shipwrecks.

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