Rio de Janeiro: Confederations Cup finalists Brazil and Spain are gifting autographed commemorative shirts to ailing South African former president Nelson Mandela, FIFA president Sepp Blatter revealed ahead of Sunday's match in Rio.
"To Mandela, a gift from Brazilian national team and wish you a good recover (sic)", read the inscription on the Brazil shirt which Blatter, flanked by Brazilian Football Confederation president Jose Maria Marin and Spanish counterpart Angel Maria Villar Llona, held aloft.
Nobel peace laureate Mandela, who played a major role in the 2010 World Cup coming to South Africa - the first time the competition has been held on the African continent - is in critical condition in Pretoria where he was hospitalised on June 8 with a recurring lung infection.
Earlier, Blatter, who presented the shirts to Tokyo Sexwale, representing the Nelson Mandela Foundation, issued a short tribute to the ailing former leader.
"The strength of the world's most popular game which you love so much, football, reaches out to you.
"With this gesture, the football world wants to tell you how much we are thinking about you."
Sexwale will present the shirts to Mandela on his return from Brazil.
Story first published on: Monday, 01 July 2013 08:33 IST