The 11th annual Match Against Poverty is getting stronger support day by day. Luis Figo, Fabio Cannavaro and Patrick Vieira 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 March 4 at the Stade de Suisse, Bern. Former World Cup referee Pierluigi Collina of Italy will referee the match which will be televised globally.
According to FIFA's website, 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."
"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.
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, said the FIFA website.
The list of players confirmed up to now in the Ronaldo, Zidane & Friends team is: Ronald de Boer (Netherlands), Steve McManaman and Jamie Carragher (England), Robert Pires, Claude Makelele, 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 (Brazil), Pavel Nedved (Czech Republic), Gianluca Zambrotta, Gennaro Gattuso, Christian Vieri and Fabio Cannavaro (Italy), Hakan Sukur (Turkey) Hidetoshi Nakata (Japan) and Freddie Ljungberg (Sweden).