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Interview with Clarence Seedorf

Aired March 4, 2010 - 00:00:00   ET



MAX FOSTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Clarence Seedorf is Club Football's perennial success story, winning the Champion's League Medal is a career pinnacle for any big footballer. But Seedorf has won it four times and with three different clubs, twice with current team, A.C. Milan.

The Dutch man has also won 87 international caps (ph) for his native country, the Netherlands.

Off the pitch, Seedorf, who was born in Dutch-speaking Suriname in South America, works tirelessly for humanitarian causes. Last year, he was named one of the Nelson Mandela Foundation's legacy champions for the work done by his charity, Champions for Children.

A sports star with a big right foot and an ever bigger conscience, Clarence Seedorf is your Connector of the Day.


FOSTER: And Clarence Seedorf's passing commitment on and off the pitch has inspired many of you to send in your questions and comments to our Web site. So let's put them to him.

Your Connector joins me live from Milan.

Thank you so much for joining us, Clarence.


FOSTER: First of all, just about your charity work. I guess you're going to be busy with that in relation to the World Cup this year.

Are you some of capitalizing on what's going on in South Africa with your -- with your charity?

SEEDORF: Yes, indeed. First of all, it's a pleasure being with you. I'm going to be very busy, actually, during the whole month in South Africa; also focusing on the first implementation of a big project named the Champion's Playground in -- in Manenberg. It's a soborn (ph) spot near to Capetown. And I'm going to definitely pay some attention to the developments of that.

FOSTER: OK. Good stuff.

We're going to go on to the viewer questions.

Robert asks: "Do you think A.C. Milan will win the Champions League this year? And if not, who do you favor to win?"

SEEDORF: Well, until I'm part of, you know, the game, I don't really think about the others. So I still am very much confident that Milan can - - can make it. We have a very tough match. And that's next week. But we have to be confta -- confident. And I'm very confident that Milan can pull it off. So for now, my focus is only on A.C. Milan.

FOSTER: OK. We'll wait to see what happens.

Michael wants to know -- Michael Wells. He's asking a question about: "You have a glittering career, but what's the best team you've played in and who's the best player that you've played with?"

SEEDORF: Well, let's start with the last question. I think that Ronaldo is the best player I've played we. We talk about the number nine, the Brazilian star now playing in Brazil again. He has definitely been the best player I've played with.

The second question, can you repeat that to me please?

FOSTER: Yes. Who's the best player you've played with and what's the best team that you've played in?

SEEDORF: Well, let's say that the teams I played in were all excellent. I played with many, many great players and incredible teams. It would be offending one of them, you know, making a choice of one.

I've been playing, of course, for eight years and eight in Milan, which was my longest story within a club. But I have to say that from Alex (ph), even in Sampdoria we had a great team. We didn't win anything, but we had great talents there.

With Madrid, we won everything and Inter had incredible players from Ronaldo to Christian Vieri. And then with Milan, of course, we won two championships. So about -- during of my career, of course, I think that the Milan period had the most significance in that sense.

But all the teams were really great.

FOSTER: OK. And away from club football then, Marwan wants to know: "What's the real story behind you not playing for your national team. Do you -- did you and the manager not see eye to eye?," he asks.

SEEDORF: No, we never really met. We never met. And I would, you know, like to it, also. I -- I don't really know the reason, the real reason. I imagine it has nothing really to do with my -- my football skills or my performances with A.C. Milan. But it's something I've really left behind me. I think that you cannot have everything in life and sometimes you just -- destiny wants you to take another path.

So I'm very much in peace with that. Of course, from the sport's point of view, I've suffered in the past, not being in a World Cup in Germany, for example, because that was one of my best seasons I had in my career. And not being able to go and play there was really, really tough for me.

But I have to say that my focus, again, is on A.C. Milan. I have a -- you know, I'm feeling great, even if, at the moment, I'm a bit injured. But I'm very confident for -- for the last months of the year and focusing on -- on my work here.

FOSTER: OK. Lilian Ferrior wants to know: "In Suriname, there is so much young football talent," she says, "but also much poverty. What can you do more to develop football talents and give these youngsters a way to break the poverty -- the poverty cycle?," she asks.

SEEDORF: Yes, well, I -- I would turn it a little bit around. I'm very active in Suriname already. I have a project going on to keep the kids from the street. Around 700 kids are weekly playing games now in a competition that we organized for them in -- in a district, that's the Para District in Suriname. That's gone well.

But my focus on Suriname is really about the -- the young generations, to -- to give them some hope through sports. It's not about the elite talents, because they will come out anyway once somebody will -- will -- will notice them. But I think the most important thing that I can do that I want to do for -- for Suriname and also all my other projects in the world is to be able to give them a place why can -- they can play, where they can develop their skills, their talents in general and where they have a safe environment so they can really grow, also, certain elements within their character that will be useful for the rest of the rest of their lives in society.

That's the most important thing.

And then football is a great tool, a sport in general, to do that.

FOSTER: Yes, it really brings people together, doesn't it?

Lily (ph), finally, from Brussels wants to know: "Once your football days are up, what do you hope to do?" I guess charity work you'll continue with, right?

SEEDORF: Yes, well the charity is my mission. It's about, you know, the human beings. Humanitarian work is something I've felt from very young and I'm going to do that for sure.

But I have also very much other interests. I'm into the business. But let's say that for now, I'm already working on my after career, in a certain way. But I have too much passion and joy still in playing the game and so that's -- that's focus number one. That's what I'm doing, hopefully, for a lot of years to go.

And I mean it's important to -- to start building an after career during your career and that's what I'm doing with my foundation, but especially with, also, the businesses that I'm -- that I'm running.

But I think we have to enjoy the moment, because when it stops, it stops. And I think that as long as I'm fit, I need to be on -- on the pitch, running.

FOSTER: We hope so, too.

Clarence Seedorf, thank you so much for joining us today as our Connector of the Day.

Thanks a lot.


FOSTER: Now, tomorrow's Connectors are members of one of the most iconic bands on the planet and not just because of their makeup. Rock legends Kiss have sold more than 18 million albums worldwide feature hits like, "Hotter Than Hell" and "God of Thunder."

Want to know the secrets of their success or how long it takes to apply that makeup?

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