United centre back Rio Ferdinand and Barcelona striker Samuel Eto’o have put aside their footballing rivalries to join UNICEF in calling for action to halt the devastating impact of HIV and AIDS on the world’s children.
At the Nou Camp last week, Ferdinand and Eto'o held up a shirt showing the number 2,100,000 – the staggering number of children under 15 currently living with HIV.
HIV and AIDS is a priority concern for UNICEF. Young people aged 15 to 24 now account for about 40 per cent of all new HIV infections.
In the 90 minutes it will take for Manchester United to play FC Barcelona tonight:
* 72 children will contract HIV
* 50 children will die as a result of AIDS
Speaking at the shoot, Ferdinand said: "To see the impact of HIV on young people is shattering. Children are truly bearing the brunt with HIV robbing countless youngsters of their parents, their communities, their hopes and ultimately their futures."
Samuel Eto’o, himself a UNICEF Ambassador since 2005,added: "It's shocking to think that 2.1 million children are now living with HIV. But by appearing together we hope to send out a strong message around the world that