Former Barcelona team-mates Lionel Messi and Ronaldinho are set to reunite for a star-studded friendly match in honour of Diego Maradona.
They’ll be joined by countless football greats past and present who are coming together for the ‘Match for Peace’ hosted at Rome’s Stadio Olimpico on November 14, four days before the Qatar World Cup gets underway.
The fixture has been organised by Pope Francis’ foundation WePlayForPeace. Fellow ex-Barca stars Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic and Dani Alves, as well as Messi’s Argentine compatriots Angel Di Maria and Maxi Rodriguez, will be taking part too.
Ronaldinho will captain one of the teams while the other will be skippered by Lazio striker Ciro Immobile. Goalkeepers Pepe Reina and Gianluigi Buffon plus Roma manager Jose Mourinho are also going to be involved.
After his participation was announced, Messi said: “I am grateful to have the opportunity to be here with the Pope and all these great players.
“It is important that each of us joins this call for peace. We can change things together.”
Messi’s participation may well be limited given the timing of the match, as he’ll be preparing for what is going to be his final World Cup with Argentina.
He already has a knock which has kept him out of PSG’s last two matches, and will want to avoid any further issues on the eve of the tournament.
Footie icon Maradona passed away in November 2020 at the age of 60. He was revered around the world but particularly in his home country and in Italy, where he spent seven years with Napoli.