Three English stars - David Beckham, Jamie Carragher and Steven Gerrard - have accepted the invitation to play in the European celebration match between Manchester United FC and an all-star Europe XI at Old Trafford, Manchester on 13 March (20.00 local time).
The match will mark two jubilees: the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, which laid the foundations for a united Europe; and Manchester United FC's half-century of involvement in European competitions. It is being staged by the Manchester United Foundation and UEFA, with support from the European Union. All proceeds from the game will go to charity.
Beckham going back
Real Madrid CF midfielder and former England captain Beckham was the first to confirm his presence at the match at his old club United. "I'm happy to know I'm going to play on 13 March," he said. "It will be something special to go back to Old Trafford - I'm really looking forward to it."
Beckham is to be joined by his ex-England team-mates Carragher and Gerrard - both from Liverpool FC - in the all-star European squad selected by Italy's 2006 FIFA World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi, who will be head coach of the Europe XI. UEFA technical director Andy Roxburgh will act as assistant coach.
Honour for the club
"It is an honour for our club that two of our players have been selected to represent Europe," said Liverpool manager Rafael Benítez. "I know they feel very privileged to be in the team and they will enjoy playing alongside the top players from other clubs. It will be a nice experience for them and one that I am sure they will remember with pleasure in years to come."
Proud of selection
Carragher himself said: "I feel proud that a coach like Marcello Lippi has selected me for the European team. It's a real honour." Gerrard added: "It's a pleasure to play alongside the top players - especially if the match earns some money for charity."
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