Celestine Babayaro is promising to perform his trademark celebratory backflip if he scores for Nigeria at Star Sixes this summer – as long as he doesn’t break his foot again.
The former Chelsea and Newcastle defender is the latest international legend to be unveiled for the Star Sixes international six-a-side tournament, which will be held at London’s O2 Arena from 13 to 16 July.
Babayaro was famous for his acrobatics, until it was revealed he had broken a metatarsal, but he insists it will not stop him celebrating in style if he scores at the Dome this summer.
“If I score the odd goal at Star Sixes, the backflip could well be on again,” said the former Super Eagles left back, who will again join forces with international teammate Jay-Jay Okocha, among other big names still to be announced, when they kick off at the tournament against China on Thursday 13 July.
“It was a bit of a misconception that I broke my leg doing it after scoring for Chelsea. I had actually fractured my fifth metatarsal on the training ground, not in the game. But it was a story that stuck.”
Babayaro has no problem with his fitness now, though, and can’t wait to play for his country again this summer.
As well as China, Nigeria also face group encounters with Italy and Brazil in the 12-team tournament that features a galaxy of stars for the world of football, all recently retired from the professional game.
Icons such as Steven Gerrard, Michael Ballack, Roberto Carlos, Deco, Carles Puyol, Robert Pirès, Rio Ferdinand and Marcel Desailly will all be in action for their countries, vying for the honour of claiming the first Star Sixes title at the final night on Sunday 16 July.
“It will be a new-style tournament, with superstars from international football taking part, and I can’t wait for it,” continued Babayaro, an FA Cup winner with Chelsea during an eight-year stint at Stamford Bridge.
“It should be really exciting for us players, and the fans, and it will be a chance to interact with them more than usual, doing photos and autographs.”
He added: “Pulling on the green and white of the Super Eagles will bring the memories flooding back.”
“There are some great players that I played against, as well, the likes of Michael Owen, Gerrard and David James, so it should be a special tournament.”
Babayaro is the latest signing for Star Sixes, a new world six-a-side tournament for former internationals at The O2, London, July 13-16.