Steven Gerrard has confirmed his next move in football as he prepares to captain his country at the inaugural Star Sixes tournament, presented by Pitch International and Football Champions Tour.
The England and Liverpool legend closed the book on an illustrious professional career when he announced his retirement less than two weeks ago, having won 114 caps for the national team and made over 500 appearances for the Reds.
However, Gerrard, who signed off after an 18-month spell with LA Galaxy, will be pulling his ‘boots’ back on for Star Sixes, the first-ever competitive world football tournament for iconic former international players.
Star Sixes will reunite the world’s greatest players in their national team colours, renewing classic rivalries in a gripping six-a-side tournament in front of packed arenas and global audiences.
Gerrard will skipper a star-studded England squad, that he himself is selecting, at the 12-team tournament at The O2, London, on July 13, 14, 15 & 16, 2017.
Last month, Pitch International and Football Champions Tour also unveiled international icons Carles Puyol, Michael Ballack, Deco, Robert Pirès and Jay Jay Okocha as Star Sixes players – with many more major stars to be announced shortly.
With every Star Sixes player being a fully-capped former international, a galaxy of stars will be on show at The O2 when England take on Brazil, Spain, Germany, Mexico, Italy, France, Portugal, Australia, Nigeria, China and Denmark.
Such has been the buzz created since the tournament’s announcement that legends of the game have proactively been contacting Star Sixes about signing up.
Gerrard believes Star Sixes offers a unique and irresistible challenge for elite players who have reached the end of their professional careers.
He said: “I’m really looking forward to stepping out on the big stage again and renewing old rivalries with some truly world-class talents and huge personalities.
“I’ll be contacting the very best team-mates I played alongside for England to recruit the strongest squad possible. Make no mistake, I want to win Star Sixes.
“We may all be retired, but you never lose that competitive edge and Star Sixes promises to be a really exciting spectacle.”
Tickets for all four days will go on general sale on Friday, December 9 from 9am at www.theo2.co.uk/starsixes A ticket for just one group stage session will guarantee fans see all 12 teams – and up to 120 players – in action.
Star Sixes tournaments will consist of a group phase followed by knockout stages – including penalty shootouts – culminating in the Star Sixes Final, when the prized silverware will be at stake. As well as unmissable football action, fans will be treated to a wide range of entertainment.
Star Sixes is scheduled to return to The O2 in the summer of 2019, with other future events to be announced in the coming months.
Pitch International Managing Director, Jonathan Rogers, said: “We’re delighted to have Steven Gerrard, one of the greatest England players of his generation, captaining his country at Star Sixes. We can’t wait to see the world class squad he puts together.
“The long-term objective of Star Sixes is simple. We intend for it to become ingrained within the global football calendar as the premier event for international greats.
“We envisage Star Sixes establishing its place in The O2 calendar in a similar way to the fantastic box office events such as the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals and NBA Global Games London also hosted at the venue.
“Star Sixes presents unique and compelling opportunities for broadcasters, sponsors and a wide variety of other potential stakeholders.”
Jamie Jarvis, joint Managing Partner of Football Champions Tour, added: “Our players are craving to reignite that competitive spirit and compete against old rivals in an exciting format in front of patriotic fans. We have received some fantastic feedback from former players across the world who cannot wait to play in Star Sixes events in the coming years.”
Richard Krezwick, Senior Vice President of AEG Facilities Europe, said: “Everyone at AEG is proud and excited to host the inaugural Star Sixes at The O2 with Pitch International and Football Champions Tour.
“With hundreds of legendary memories in its 10-year history, The O2 is the perfect venue to showcase this exciting new format for football fans. We look forward to welcoming some of the world’s most recognisable footballers to London and hosting fans from throughout Europe for a fantastic experience.”