Gullit pays tribute to Rashford and Henderson for social change crusade

Dutch legend Ruud Gullit has paid tribute to Marcus Rashford and Jordan Henderson for showing how sport can be a force for good.

Manchester United striker Rashford has become a powerful voice in a bid to ensure the nation's children don't go hungry during the coronavirus pandemic.

And Liverpool skipper Henderson led the Players Together campaign which has helped to raise millions for the NHS over the past year.

Gullit spoke glowingly about both after the nominees for the 2021 Laureus World Sports Awards were announced.

He said: “What we’ve seen from people like Marcus Rashford and Jordan Henderson in England, Joshua Kimmich and Leon Goretzka at Bayern Munich and serie A clubs uniting to support communities in the fight against Covid-19, it’s been inspirational.

“Athletes are athletes first and foremost, but more and more we are seeing sports people throwing their weight behind social causes, speaking out and advocating for what they believe to be right.

“Athlete activism is growing and it’s great to see sportspeople using their platforms to influence social change.”

Liverpool have been nominated in the Team of the Year category after Jurgen Klopp took the title back to Anfield for the first time since 1990.

Gullit is no stranger to using his sporting fame to influence change.

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In 1987, the Dutchman dedicated winning the Ballon d'Or to Nelson Mandela, who was in jail in South Africa.

He recalled: “I dedicated my prize to Nelson Mandela because I was always involved in the anti-apartheid regime in South Africa, from Holland.

“Dedicating this prize to a man that fights against apartheid, and that was Nelson Mandela, for me was an obvious choice.

“In Italy, where I was playing, nobody knew who Nelson Mandela was.

“So everyone was asking me, so it was good for the cause and became a well-known issues around the world.

“I have met a lot of people, but I can't remember a person with so much charisma and aura around him.

“Once he said ‘Ruud, now I am out of prison I have a lot of friends. You were a friend when I was in prison and I had no friends.

“For that reason, I will honour you’. So I've been knighted in South Africa. I treasure the moments I had with such a remarkable man.”

  • A full list of the nominees for the 2021 Laureus World Sports Awards can be seen here.

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