The Mediterranean International Cup, with its exemplary sports management and a brand image recognized all over the world, is the best youth football tournament
Neymar did not hesitate to be a sponsor in this year’s Mediterranean International Cup. The Brazilian, an indisputable figure in FC Barcelona, has a memory. Not too long ago –seven years exactly- he was getting his suitcase ready to head to the MIC. “The great ones use to always tell me: you have to go to the MIC, it’s like a smaller version of the World Cup,” he said. It was 2008, he was 15 years old and he left with a gold medal for the Brazilian national team hanging from his neck.
Over its 14 year history, besides Neymar, many great football stars have passed through this tournament: Messi and Piqué (FC Barcelona), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Fábregas (Chelsea), Coutinho (Liverpool) and Anderson (Manchester United) are just some of them. Many others have not yet become stars, not even professional players, but they did live out a professional experience thanks to their passage through what is considered the best youth football tournament in the world.
The MIC has reached a level of success that not even optimists could have imagined: more than 200 teams representing 36 nationalities that span 5 continents, over 5,000 accredited players, 220,000 fans, 596 football matches in 5 days, 20 sites spread out in the Costa Brava (Girona), many matches offered on TV, 200 people working for the organization and an economic impact that goes above 1,600,000 euros.
The MIC is authorized by FIFA, the Spanish Federation and Catalan Federation and each edition is sponsored by a world-renowned ambassador. Pep Guardiola was the first one in 2001 and Neymar was the last one. Year after year, stars like Scolari (2002), Ronaldo Nazario (2003), Valdés and Ronaldinho (2004), Puyol and Belletti (2005), Edmilson and Sylvinho (2006), Iniesta (2007), Jonathan Soriano (2008), Dani Alves (2009), Piqué (2010), Adriano (2011), Thiago Alcántara and Coutinho (2012), Jordi Alba and Verdú (2013), Pedro Rodríguez and Sergio García (2014) have been MIC ambassadors.
“The recognition of the federations is a reflection of our every day work, and shows and that we’re not just four friends who came together to create a tournament, but that we’re a professional structure and I don’t mean it as a monetary issue. I consider myself a football professional and I have not trained beyond the 3rd Division. But for myself and my organization, being professional is to organize things well, to increasingly try to make them better and towards that word that we call ‘excellence’, which is almost impossible to achieve but that you have to get close to. Those awards come, once people see and appreciate the work that’s being done at the organizational level,” the director said.
MIC 2015 comes to the Girona area during the Easter holiday from April 1-5. And with it, another series of activities that make this tournament a global event: the Dani Montesinos Award for Sports Journalism, medical conferences, and MIC Integra for players with disabilities.
Juanjo Rovira’s team, which is already working on the 2016 edition, is sure that it will be another success. As with the 80 accredited scouts arriving from all over the world, hoping to find the usual hospitality and the football stars of the future.