Football legends Totti, Cannavaro add magic to Sharjah's 'Week of the Stars'

The Week of the Stars will also see other football legends take part in a padel tennis event and an exhibition football match

by

Rituraj Borkakoty

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Italian football legend Francesco Totti trying his hand at padel tennis. — Supplied photo
Italian football legend Francesco Totti trying his hand at padel tennis. — Supplied photo

Published: Wed 10 Jan 2024, 9:28 PM

In their hey day, Francesco Totti, Fabio Cannavaro, Christian Vieri and Andriy Shevchenko were locked in gladiatorial battles in Italy when Serie A produced exhilarating football every weekend.

While Totti was the symbol of pride for AS Roma, Cannavaro, according to a certain Diego Maradona, was the Italian 'monster' in the heart of Juventus defence who brought the best of the attackers to their knees.

Inter legend Vieri and Milan icon Shevchenko, two of the deadliest strikers of all time, added their own magic to the Milan Derby.

Now long after their retirement, these icons have come together to roll back the years.

They are not going to play a competitive game of football. But they are offering a help hand to Sharjah’s 'Week of the Stars' (January 10-13), a sporting event featuring Footgolf and padel tennis.

Football legends with officials at the press conference in Sharjah on Wednesday. — Supplied photo
Football legends with officials at the press conference in Sharjah on Wednesday. — Supplied photo

The Week of the Stars will also see other football legends like Edgar Davids, Dida and Serginho take part in a padel tennis event and an exhibition football match.

The funds raised from the football match will go into charity.

Khaled Jasim Al Midfa, Chairman of Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority (SCTDA), organisers of the event, underlined the event's role in promoting sports and tourism.

"Under the patronage of Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Sharjah, 'Sharjah’s Week of the Stars' commenced today, featuring an elite group of football legends and offering a line-up of diverse activities," Al Midfa said during a press conference on Wednesday.

“We have organised this event, which brings together prominent international football champions and stars, to provide top-tier sports and entertainment for both Sharjah’s residents and visitors.

"Our goal is to reinforce Sharjah's standing as a leading host for significant regional events across various disciplines, particularly in the field of sports.”

The sporting event got under way with the ‘Legends Padel Tour’ featuring 16 international football stars and legends at the World Padel Academy in Sharjah.

Combining elements from golf and football, Footgolf requires a participant to kick a ball into a cup, with the winner being the one who gets the ball in the cup in the fewest attempt.

Making its second appearance in Sharjah, Footgolf is all set to woo new fans in the emirate.

"We are delighted to come back for the second year in a row to Sharjah, following the remarkable success of last year's edition," said Steve Crane, Executive Director of the Federation for International FootGolf.

"The top stars who vied for the championship in the inaugural event were eager to return and compete for the title in the 2024 edition.

"The inaugural Footgolf tournament garnered tremendous public interest. In the 2024 edition, we witnessed a surge in the number of participant players, reflecting the growing popularity and reach of this sport."

Meanwhile, Shevchenko is excited to watch Footgolf in Sharjah.

"I heard about it before, it’s developing now, especially in the Middle East region," the legendary footballer told the Khaleej Times.

"More people have started to be more involved in the sport. I have seen some of the competitions. I have never tried the sport, but it looks a very nice sport and a very competitive sport."


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