Italy World Cup hero Alessandro Del Piero will captain his country at Star Sixes at The O2 this July.
The Juventus legend, who won the Champions League and six Serie A titles during his 19-year stay with the Turin giants, is the latest big name signing for the inaugural six-a-side tournament for former internationals, which will be staged in London from 13 to 16 July.
Del Piero collected 91 caps for the Azzurri and was a key figure in their 2006 World Cup success, netting in the victorious penalty shootout in the Final against France.
He is now hoping to repeat that success: “Winning the World Cup in 2006 was a dream come true, a special situation for Italy, and something magical.
“Star Sixes is another type of World Cup for us and we’ll need some magic then, too.”
Also in the Italy squad for that memorable triumph in Germany were Roma midfielder Simone Perrotta and Palermo’s Simone Barone. They will also be heading to London to join Del Piero and ex-AC Milan goalkeeper Christian Abbiati, who was the first member of the Italian Star Sixes squad to be unveiled in March.
Italy’s opening game at The O2 will be a huge match-up with Brazil, who will have Roberto Carlos and Gilberto Silva in their side, on Thursday 13 July. China and Nigeria make up their Group B fixtures.
“It’s a tough group, with four very different countries in terms of their football,” added Del Piero.
“Our aim is to get through the group stage and then see what happens. We will be ready for anything, and confident we can win – because we hate to lose.
“We’re really looking forward to Star Sixes, playing with and against some great players again.
“We will have a lot of fun and laughter beforehand, but when the matches start we will be serious – like we were in the World Cup.”
To be at Star Sixes to see all 12 nations in action and a galaxy of stars such as Steven Gerrard (England), Michael Ballack (Germany), Deco (Portugal), Carles Puyol (Spain) and Robert Pires (France), you can purchase tickets, starting at just £30 adults and £10 children, at Ticketmaster or AXS.