Lineup coming together for Manchester United charity match

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Tuesday, March 6, 2007

Manchester United will be taking on eleven of the top players in Europe in a celebration match next Tuesday at Old Trafford, and the lineup for the European XI is coming together nicely. The game is a UEFA-Manchester United collaboration created to commemorate not only the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, but also the 50th anniversary of Manchester United entering into European club competitions. Funds raised in the match will go to support the Manchester United Foundation, which works with local charities as well as UNICEF to aid children in need. Italian Marcello Lippi will be in charge of coaching the European XI side, and his assistant will be Andy Roxburgh. Confirmed players have slowly been filing into the team, but with current Manchester United on-loan striker Henrik Larsson confirmed, the XI is now complete.


Henrik Larsson:
Current Club: Manchester United (loan)
Age: 35
Currently on loan to Manchester United from Helsingborg, Larsson has been in sharp form as of late. This charity match will act as a farewell for the Swede, as he is due back in Sweeden to play for his home club after his loan contract expires on March the 12th.

David Beckham:
Current Club: Real Madrid
Age: 31
The former Manchester star will be returning to Old Trafford to play against his former club. Beckham has been playing strong for Real Madrid in recent weeks. An injury will keep him out of Real's next game in the Champions League, but if all goes well he will be back to match fitness for the March 13th charity match.
Update: Beckham has been removed from the squad due to his knee injury. No replacement has yet been announced.
Update: It is confirmed that Beckham will not be participating in the March 13th charity match, but Beckham will still travel to Old Trafford and be announced onto the pitch in order to say goodbye to the fans.

Current Club: Barcelona
Age: 26
Winner of both European and World player of the year awards, Ronaldinho is arguably one of the best players in the world currently. After nearly signing with United, the Brazilian has won 2 La Liga titles and the Champions League trophy with Spanish giants Barcelona.

Carles Puyol:
Current Club: Barcelona
Age: 28
Another player from Barcelona, Puyol is one of the best central defenders in Spain, he was the first of his position named to Lippi's squad. His shaggy hair makes him easy to pick out on the football pitch, but his dominance from the back lures much more attention.

Gianluca Zambrotta:
Current Club: Barcelona
Age: 30
A member of the Italian World Cup winning team, Zambrotta is equally comfortable on either defensive wing, or in the midfield. He is also a Barcelona player, and joined the Spanish team after winning two Italian domestic championships with Juventus. Zambrotta has history with coach Lippi, as he played on his Italian International side while Lippi was in command.

Lilian Thuram:
Current Club: Barcelona
Age: 35
Thuram is most capped player on the French International team, and he was with the French side for their European and World Cup victories in 1998 and 2000. Thuram has also won domestic league trophies in 3 countries with Monaco, Parma, Juventus, and Barcelona, his current club.

Steven Gerrard:
Current Club: Liverpool
Age: 26
Though Gerrard plays for one of Manchester United's biggest rivals, Liverpool, he is an amazing football talent in the midfield. Gerrard won the 2006 PFA Player of the Year award, and has won several other medals including the European Cup, 2 FA cups, two league cups, a UEFA cup, and a Super Cup.

Jamie Carragher:
Current Club: Liverpool
Age: 29
Another Liverpool player, Carragher is well known for his grit and determination in defence, and is sure to cause the United forwards some problems, like he did this past Sunday in a match between the two.

Current Club: Lyon
Age: 32
The second Brazilian player on the team, Juninho is well known for his free-kick prowess, and is regarded as one of the best in the world for that purpose. Juninho has played at Lyon in France for all 5 of their consecutive league titles.

Eric Abidal:
Current Club: Lyon
Age: 27
The French International plays alongside Juninho at Lyon after moving there from Lille in 2004. He has won 2 league titles with the French giants, as well as a Champions Trophy, France's equivalent to the FA Cup.

Gregory Coupet:
Current Club: Lyon
Age: 34
Coupet is the keeper named to the European XI side, and plays alongside Juninho and Abidal at Lyon. He, like Juninho, has been with the club for all 5 of their consecutive league championships.