Meireles and Nuno Gomes Bolster Portugal Ranks as Eight Legends are Unveiled for Star Sixes

Raúl Meireles has become the latest Champions League winner to be confirmed for Star Sixes as the Portugal team unveil two new signings.

The ex-Chelsea midfielder, who helped the Blues conquer Europe in 2012, as well as lifting The FA Cup, will be joined at The O2, London, 13-16 July, by former Portugal skipper and Benfica striker Nuno Gomes.

Gomes netted 29 goals in 79 appearances for his country, including strikes at three consecutive European Championships and two successive World Cups. Meanwhile, he won two Portuguese league titles with the Lisbon giants before ending his professional career in 2013 after a season in England with Blackburn Rovers.

Meireles, who played 73 times for Portugal and bagged 10 times, also enjoyed a season in the north-west of England prior to his spell at Stamford Bridge. Following a successful period at Porto, winning the title on four occasions, he joined Premier League big boys Liverpool for £11.5m.

The duo add further strength to a Portugal Star Sixes team packed with Champions League winners. As well as skipper Deco, they boast the iconic figures of Vítor Baía, Fernando Couto, Maniche and José Bosingwa.

However, Portugal are not the only Group C side who have been busy bolstering their ranks for the inaugural six-a-side tournament for former internationals.

Denmark, their opening night opponents on Thursday 13 July, have brought in five new faces to add to the four legends previously named.

Mikkel Beckmann, the former Lyngby forward, and striker Mads Junker, who plied his trade for Vitesse Arnhem and Roda JC in Holland, will spearhead the Danish attack, while defenders Chris Sørensen and Per Krøldrup, who had a very brief spell at Everton, come into their defence.

Ex-FC Copenhagen midfielder Hjalte Bo Nørregaard will also be in the side, linking up with Martin Jørgensen, Stig Tøfting, John Sivebæk and Daniel Jensen to take the Denmark squad to nine.

Fellow Group C outfit Germany have also brought in added firepower in the shape of former Schalke and Stuttgart forward Kevin Kuranyi.

The 35-year-old was born in Brazil but moved to Germany – his father’s home – as a teenager, playing for their youth teams before earning the first of 52 caps for Die Mannschaft in 2003.

He scored 19 times in his five-year international career and will be hoping for another one in London this summer after netting his final goal for Germany in a 2-1 victory over England at Wembley in 2007.

Kuranyi is the seventh squad member to be confirmed for Germany, who will be captained by midfielder Michael Ballack. Also in their team is former Arsenal stopper Jens Lehmann, Liverpool Champions League icon Dietmar Hamann, ex-Crystal Palace striker Marco Reich, Simon Rolfes and David Odonkor.

Group C promises to be a tough one to get out of, with Robert Pires’ France also in the pool.

Elsewhere in the 12-nation tournament, teams such as Carles Puyol’s Spain, Steven Gerrard’s England, Jay-Jay Okocha’s Nigeria, Rivaldo’s Brazil and Alessandro Del Piero’s Italy will be looking to successfully negotiate their first three games and reach the quarter-final stages.

To be at Star Sixes to see all 12 nations in action and a galaxy of stars such as Steven Gerrard (England), Rivaldo (Brazil), Alessandro Del Piero (Italy), Deco (Portugal), Carles Puyol (Spain) and Jay-Jay Okocha (Nigeria), you can purchase tickets, starting at just £30 adults and £10 children, at Ticketmaster or AXS

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