As the only man to have played for Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham, William Gallas knows what a great football city London is, so he is excited to be returning to take part in Star Sixes when the new tournament for former internationals makes its debut at The O2 from 13-16 July.
Gallas will be joining his great friend and former teammate Robert Pires, who is captaining France, and they will be up against some of the biggest names from world football over recent years.
Roberto Carlos, Steven Gerrard, Michael Ballack and Rio Ferdinand will also be taking part, and Gallas says he cannot wait: “I’m excited at the idea of coming back to London and playing at The O2.
“I have been there three times – to see 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg and Rihanna – but this will be the first time a football tournament has been there so it should be fantastic.”
And he is hoping for plenty of support from the French population of London, which is estimated at around one-third of a million people. “A lot of French people live in the city, and we love our football, so I am sure they will come along and support France.”
Gallas loved life as a player in England, before moving back to France for his current role as a TV pundit. “In England, people respect your privacy and let you get on with your life. If you are out with your family, fans will leave you alone, or if they do want an autograph or photo, they will ask for it politely so it is impossible to refuse. I loved living and playing in London.”
He was brought to Chelsea by Claudio Ranieri when the Italian was manager at Stamford Bridge in 2003 and was sad to see him leave Leicester last week. “Claudio is a great manager and a great person, so I hope he will take time to recover from this and be back in management soon.”
Gallas believes current Chelsea manager Antonio Conte is close to matching Jose Mourinho’s feat of winning the title in his first season at Stamford Bridge. “If they win the league, and it is getting closer, Conte’s achievement will be as great as Mourinho’s,” said Gallas, who won two successive Premier League titles under the Portuguese manager.
Now he is concentrating on winning another medal, the inaugural Star Sixes title. “There will be some great players that I used to enjoy rivalries with, and it will be good to face them again.
“To represent your country is the best feeling, and with England, Italy, Germany and Spain among the competition, we want to win – we always want to win!”
Make sure you don’t miss the inaugural Star Sixes tournament at The O2, where 12 international teams will go head-to-head from 13-16 July for the first trophy. Get your tickets by visiting Ticketmaster or AXS.