Jordi Masip, Sergi Roberto, Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitic and Leo Messi. That is a dream 5-a-side football team by any standards. But how would the star-studded quintet be able to perform if they had their eyes covered? Well, that’s exactly what happens in this video, where they compete blindfold against members of the Spanish national 5-a-side blind football team.
It’s completely new territory for the Barça players, but Pedro Gutiérrez, Jose Luis Giera, Javier Álvaro, Francisco Javier Pérez, Marcelo Rosado and Sergio Cano are on hand to show them the basics.
As well being a lot of fun, there was also a serious side. The video was made by the FC Barcelona Foundation, UNICEF and the International Paralympic Committee on occasion of the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, which opened on Wednesday. It symbolises the essence of inclusive sport by showing how implicated the first team players are in the work being done by the Foundation, with their shared conviction that all children have the right to play, and that their abilities should not matter.
As Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee, comments: “This video shows the skills and abilities of visually handicapped footballers. The response from Messi, Busquets, Masip, Rakitic and Sergi Roberto shows that they consider play without eyesight to be a challenge. And it shows how amazing these 5-a-side players are, who are able to face a penalty without one of the most important senses.”
Anthony Lake, executive director of UNICEF, adds that “the Paralympic Games show that it’s ability, and not disability, that determines what somebody can achieve. This video shows that children should not face any limitations when it comes to aspiring to achievements in sport, at school or in life. UNICEF feels proud to be able to work with its beloved Barça to offer so many boys and girls the chance to play, learn and make the very most of their abilities, and therefore their lives.”