Former Juventus and Holland legend Edgar Davids sees street football as the key in bringing Asia football to the next level.
The 39-year-old, nicknamed the 'Pitbull' due to his tenacious style of play in midfield, is this year's ambassador for Tiger Street Football, a street football tournament sponsored by Tiger Beer that features top international teams battling it out against the winning team from five Asian countries.
Speaking to Yahoo! Singapore at the Grand Finals in Ho Chi Minh City over the weekend, Davids explained the importance of street football in the developing a footballer's foundations.
He said, "It's no secret that street football is the foundation of many top footballers in the world. Look at the likes of Lionel Messi, Ronaldinho, Zinedine Zidane, Pele and Diego Maradona. They all started out on the streets.
"It's important because there's limited space and the game is much faster, which also means you get to touch the ball more.
"You get to express yourself better and there is more emphasis on style and skills rather than tactics."
One of the most iconic players of his generation thanks to his dreadlocked hair and protective goggles, Davids believes street football is the way to unlock talents in Asia.
He added, "In Asia, the players are lagging behind in physicality as compared to their western counterparts. What they need to do is focus on technical skills and creativity, which can be developed through street football."
"And the Tiger Street football, being the biggest street football tournament in this region, will play an important role in that."