MSN Reveals Starting Lineup for Promotion in the Run-up to the World Cup
International Football Icons to Provide Exclusive Behind the Scenes Insights in the Run Up to World Cup
Reading - UK - 9 December 2005 - MSN today announced it has signed a team of the seven of the world’s top players, Ronaldinho, Michael Owen, Gianluigi Buffon, Claude Makelele , Kevin Kuranyi, Edgar Davids and Xabi Alonso, to provide an exclusive behind-the-scenes perspective on the build up to the 2006 World Cup.
The team was today unveiled as they got together for the first time at the Allianz Stadium in Munich, Germany. They posed for team pictures and signed autographs for fans while they checked out the venue for the opening match of next year’s tournament.
Through to the World Cup finals in July 2006, the players will provide a unique insight into life as a world class footballer. Available exclusively on a new MSN Countdown to the World Cup Channel http://worldcup.uk.msn.com football fans will be able to read online player diaries and their favourite players’ blogs on MSN Spaces. They will also be able to catch up on the latest news on weekly player web casts where they will give their opinion on their team’s performance and personal successes.
There will also be a host of prizes up for grabs, including signed kit and the chance to win a ’one on one’ video conversation, via MSN Messenger, with the stars.
MSN users can log on to access the only place to catch this exclusive content direct from seven footballing greats:
Ronaldinho de Assis Moreira (Ronaldhino) (Brazil) Ronaldinho is current FIFA World Player of the Year and FIFPro World Player of the Year. In 2005, he also played a pivotal role as the captain of the Brazilian squad which won its second FIFA Confederations Cup title and last season helped Barcelona FC to their first La Liga title in six years. He has also just been crowned as European player of the year 2005.
Michael Owen (England) Former European Footballer of the Year, Owen made his debut match for England in 1998 at just 18 years old. He has been capped 74 times for England, scoring 33 goals, and is fourth in the list of all-time top scorers for the England team. He recently signed a four-year deal with Newcastle.
Gianluigi Buffon (Italy) Buffon was named by Pel as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers in 2004, and voted Most Valuable Player and Goalkeeper of the Year at the 2003 UEFA Football Awards. He holds the world record fee paid for a goalkeeper after his move from Parma to Juventus in 2001 and helped them secure their 28th Scudetto last season.
Xabi Alonso (Spain) Son of former Sociedad boss, Periko Alonso, Xabi or the ’Pass Master’ as he is affectionately known - earned his first full Spanish cap in early 2003 at the age of 21 and has been part of the squad ever since. Signed by Liverpool in August 2004, he helped them to win the European Cup last season scoring the equalising third goal in the most dramatic final in years.
Claude Makelele (France) - International and Chelsea star Claude Makelele is a world class player who has built a formidable reputation in domestic arenas across Europe. In September 2003, he moved from Real Madrid to Chelsea having previously played for Brest, Marseille, Celta Vigo and Bernabeu having built his reputation as one of the worlds best midfield players.
Kevin Kuranyi (Germany) Born in Rio de Janeiro in 1982 Kuranyi is hailed as one of Germany’s most promising players. Making his debut in 2003, Kuranyi has proved himself a formidable striker on the German team, scoring 12 international goals from 22 appearances since his debut. He currently plays for Bundesliga team Schalke 04.
Edgar Davids (Netherlands) Nicknamed ’Pitbull’ by former Ajax coach Louis van Gaal, Edgar Davids is a versatile player at home either in mid or central defence. He started his career at Ajax in 1991, and helped the Amsterdam club to both the UEFA Cup title in 1992 and the Champions League crown in 1995. Davids made his international appearance in 1994 and his contributions to the Dutch team have been immense. His glasses have made him an icon.
Member of the MSN team Ronaldinho said: “Working with MSN is going to be great as it’s something new and exciting for me and the other players involved. We’ll be able to provide fun and interesting insights into the world of football to loads of people world-wide throughout the tournament.”
Chris Ward, MSN Commercial Director, commented: “We are really excited to be teaming up with world class footballers during such an exciting time in the football calendar. Visitors to the http:// worldcup.uk.msn.com will be able to get a completely different perspective on one of the world’s most talked about tournaments and a really unique insight into the lives of top professional footballers.”
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