Love of the game, vital element for any footballer, advised Campo

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FMLLP's tie up with La Liga saw the former Real Madrid star visit Kuala Lumpur and attend the National Football Awards as part of the partnership.

Those that followed football post 2010 may not be well acquainted with who Ivan Campo is but the relatively older generation will no doubt remember fondly the big Spaniard who paraded one of the most recognisable hairstyles in the world of football.

A Champions League winner with Real Madrid, Campo also spent time with Bolton Wanderers in the English Premier League under the tutelage of Sam Allardyce. The unfashionable Bolton side that ended up housing big names like Youri Djorkaeff, Jay-Jay Okocha, El-Hadji Diouf as well as a former Asian icon in Hidetoshi Nakata.

Like Campo, Nakata built his name in another league, namely the Italian Serie A before making the move to Bolton and the now 43-year-old Campo was effusive in his praise for the former Japan national team captain.

Hidetoshi Nakata

"Nakata was a fantastic player. I was very impressed with hm when I played with him. Technically he was superb. Now after so many years, it's great to see so many Asian players playing in Europe," Campo told Goal in an exclusive interview in Kuala Lumpur.

As part of the promotional activities in KL, Campo was undeniably the biggest name to grace the grand night of Malaysian football at the National Football Awards that was held in a hotel in Bandar Utama on Friday night.

The centre back turned midfielder was presenting out the award for the top goal scorer in the Premier League, the second tier of Malaysian football which was won by Kuala Lumpur FC's Guilherme de Paula.

The partnership between to two sets of governing league bodies is still only in its infancy that started with a visit from Malaysian representatives to Spain last November, which now sees La Liga also placing an official in Kuala Lumpur for the next couple of years.

Without a moment of hesitancy, Campo pinpointed the area where La Liga's influence could be very beneficial to growing and developing football in Malaysia.

"The best is maybe for some legends or coaches to come here to see the game or work in training grounds, particularly at grassroots level. The children can learn a lot of things from these kind of visits. The youth development is where we can come in and do some good work."

"The most important thing is to enjoy playing football. After that, you can learn from videos, play with your friends or listen to the coach. But you must have tremendous mentality to learn. Now I'm 43, when I go and play with my friends, I look to enjoy the game. When you enjoy playing football, you have no problems," added Campo.

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