Tuesday, 2 September 2014
Divine Intervention!.. Pope Invites Diego Maradona And Other Legends In A Match For Peace
Football legends past and present came together to promote an end to hostilities in Gaza at the Interreligious Match for Peace staged Rome.
The exhibition match was arranged at the behest of Pope Francis, himself an avid supporter of Argentine side San Lorenzo, to to promote a diplomatic solution to the ongoing crisis in Gaza.
The leader of the Roman Catholic church met several football legends including Diego Maradona, Carlos Valderrama and Allesandro Del Piero at the Vatican before the game.
In total 50 all-star players of different religious backgrounds ranging from Islam to Buddhism were invited to take part in the game at the Olympic Stadium in Rome.
The exhibition was co-hosted by the Pupi Foundation, a Buenos Aires-based charity founded by the former Inter Milan midfielder Javier Zanetti, alongside Scholas Occurentes, an educational entity launched by the Pope.
Zanetti captained the PUPI side while Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon took charge of the SCHOLAS. As expected, the exhibition game was a goal fest intent on entertaining the audience and finished 6-3 to the PUPI side.
Inter Milan striker Mauro Icardi scored a hat-trick for Pupi with further goals scored by former Chelsea striker Andriy Shevchenko.
However, it was Scholas who took the lead in the first-half through Roma forward Juan Iturbe before the most nostalgic goal of the night involved Maradona setting up former Italy international Baggio with a delightful lobbed pass for Scholas's second.
Eyebrows were raised when Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger chose to attend the match as manager of the Scholas side instead of keeping pace of events on the final day of the transfer window.
DIVINE INTERVENTION: THE 50 ALL-STARS INVITED TO PLAY FOR PEACE
Andrea Ranocchia, Andrea Pirlo, Colombian midfielder Fredy Guarìn, Spaniards Mikel Arteta and Andrés Palop Cervera, Andrey Shevchenko, Argentine ex-player and current coach Antonio Mohamed, Brazilian Marcos Antonio Senna Da Silva, Chilean Arturo Vidal, Carlos Valderrama, Israelis Yossi Benayoun, Dudu Aouate and Tomer Hemed, Damiano Tommasi, David Trezeguet, Ethiopia captain Degu Debebe Gebreyes, Diego Lugano, Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone, Icelandic Emil Hallfreosson, Argentines Mauro Icardi, Ricky Alvarez, goalkeeper Juan Pablo Carrizo, Esteban Cambiasso, Fernando Tissone, Ezequiel Schelotto, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Juan Iturbe, Lionel Messi, Javier Mascherano, Maxi Rodríguez, Cristian Ledesma. Also featuring will be: Yuto Nagatomo, Ivan Zamorano, Ivan Cordoba, Roberto Baggio, Samuel Eto’o, Fernando Muslera, Filippo Inzaghi, Gabriel Heinze, Jose Chamot, Luca Toni, Lucas Podolski, Mesust Ozil, Nicola Legrottaglie, Radja Nainggolan, Ronaldinho, Stefano Mauri, Sulley Muntari and Belozoglu Emre.