Luis Figo, Fabio Cannavaro and Ruud Gullit have accepted Ronaldo and Zinedine Zidane’s invitation and are committed to helping the Philippines in the FIFA-supported 11th Annual Match Against Poverty that will take place on Tuesday 4 March at the Stade de Suisse.
Figo, the 2000 Ballon d'Or winner and the 2001 FIFA World Player of the Year is very keen to support the cause. “I am making an appeal to the public to come to the Stade de Suisse,” he said. I would be delighted to see the stands full of people so we could celebrate football together in the fight against poverty. Let's help the Philippines."
“I am very excited about this game. Football speaks a universal language and we need to take advantage of this to appeal for the reconstruction of the Philippines,” said Vieira, who won the 1998 FIFA World Cup and UEFA EURO 2000 alongside various titles in England and Italy.
“It is a great honour to play alongside these talented players who have had such successful careers,” said 2006 World Cup and FIFA World Player of the Year Cannavaro who considers the fight against poverty a priority. “Unfortunately, natural disasters affect us every year. The fight against poverty must be constant and I'm very happy if I can contribute to it through football.”
Gullit meanwhile is thrilled to be able to contribute to such a noble cause and calls for public support. “It is a privilege and a challenge to steer a team with such great world football names," he said. "We would like to count on a massive public presence to see us playing and help us support the people of the Philippines."
"To have celebrities like Ronaldo, Zidane and Marta lending their names as Goodwill Ambassadors to the work of UNDP means more to us than money could ever buy," UNDP Administrator Helen Clark said in a video message to support the Match Against Poverty. "Their reputations are so fantastic, their followings so great that for them to be talking about the work that we do to help devastated communities and people moving out from poverty is just so valuable.” she added.
The 11th annual Match Against Poverty is getting stronger support day by day. Between them, Ronaldo, Zidane, Figo, Pavel Nedvěd and Cannavaro have six Ballon d'Or awards and eight FIFA World Player of the Year titles. The Italian Pierluigi Collina will be the referee for the match.
Proceeds from the Match will support recovery efforts in the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, one of the most powerful storms on record.
The list of players confirmed up to now in the Ronaldo, Zidane & Friends team is: Ronald de Boer and Ruud Gullit (Netherlands), Steve McManaman and Jamie Carragher (England), Robert Pires, Claude Makéléle, Christian Karembeu and Patrick Vieira (France), Jens Lehmann (Germany), Gaizka Mendieta , Fernando Hierro and Michel Salgado (Spain), Paulo Ferreira, Fernando Couto, Luis Figo, Paulo Sousa and Deco (Portugal), Marta, Giovane Elber, Juliano Belletti and Roberto Carlos (Brasil), Pavel Nedvěd (Czech Republic), Gianluca Zambrotta, Gennaro Gattuso, Paolo Maldini, Christian Vieri and Fabio Cannavaro (Italy), Hakan Sukur (Turkey) Hidetoshi Nakata (Japan) and Freddie Ljungberg (Sweden).
Former and present BSC Young Boys players will comprise the Young Boys & Friends team. The team will be led by former Swiss international players Stéphane Chapuisat and Hakan Yakin.
The annual match against poverty - which will be televised globally - is supported by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), and the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).
The 11th Annual Match Against Poverty in Bern will start at 20.00 local time on 4 March 2014. Ticket prices range from CHF 20.00 up to CHF 60.00 and are available at www.stadedesuisse.ch/tickets or www.ticketcorner.ch