Barcelona star: World Cup will bring Qatar 'happiness'
Hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup will bring "a lot of happiness" to the people of Qatar, Barcelona defender Jordi Alba said in an interview at a sports academy in Doha.
Speaking from the Aspire Academy last week, Alba said recent developments in Qatar means that the country is moving in the right direction ahead of hosting the World Cup.
"We came a few years ago to Qatar and a lot has changed, I'm very happy with how they are doing things here," Alba said.
"All of the facilities here are great, and they help all the kids who want to fulfil their dreams. I hope they can compete at the highest level.
"Qatar is a country which likes football a lot. The stadiums will be full, and hosting the World Cup will bring a lot of happiness to the people here."
The 28-year-old footballer, who was on tour with team-mates Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique, said he expects Doha to have a talented team of footballers for the international tournament.
"They have great coaches, to prepare the youngsters. It is a great experience, because they will learn a lot, not only in terms of football but also in personal terms. Qatar is improving a lot in football, my colleague Xavi talks to me about the fantastic development of football here."
Qatar is set to host the international football tournament in 2022, making it the first Arab country to do so.
Last month, Doha announced that the rift with fellow Gulf Arab states, which includes economic sanctions, has not affected its preparations to host the World Cup.
It said alternative sources for construction materials had been secured.
Meanwhile, FIFA has said it is in "regular contact" with Qatar, after Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE and Egypt severed ties with Doha, accusing it of supporting Iran and funding Islamist groups. Qatar denies the charges.