Italian Football Stars show their support for European Football Week!

Italian football star David Trezeguet and Unified partner Gerald Mballe celebrating with the other athletes and refugees at the end of the match.
Italian football star David Trezeguet and Unified partner Gerald Mballe celebrating with the other athletes and refugees at the end of the match.

Former Juventus stars David Trezeguet and Alessandro Del Piero showed their support for the athletes of Special Olympics and our work with refugees by joining recent Special Olympics European Football Week activities!

European Football Week provided Special Olympics Italy with the perfect occasion to get back on the field and host two face-to-face matches after months of isolation due to the coronavirus pandemic. The football activities – which strictly adhered to government’s guidelines and restrictions – took place in Turin and in L’Aquila as part of the Special Olympics Italy Unified with Refugees programme.

While in L’Aquila refugees and athletes joined forces in training activities, in Turin they stepped onto the pitch for a friendly game of five-a-side football where they played alongside Gerald Mballe, long-time Special Olympics Italy Unified Partner and spokesman for inclusion. Gerald said “I want everyone engaging in the world of sports, which is the instrument to empower inclusion, to gain freedom, to develop goals, to dream, to feel equal, to live in a world without barriers.”

Highlights from the Unified with Refugees Turin match

At the end of the event, former Juventus FC player David Trezeguet awarded the medals to the winners of the game. Special Olympics Italy National Director, Alessandra Palazzotti, commented, “Unified Sports is extraordinary: it allows us to create 360-degree Inclusion. Having our athletes on the pitch with these refugees is an astounding opportunity to grow as people and, most importantly, as a country – the first step towards a respectful society that values each individual.”

David Trezeguet wasn’t the only Juventus FC star who showed his support of Special Olympics athletes during this year’s European Football Week. Italian football legend, Alessandro Del Piero surprised some of his Special Olympics fans during an exclusive Zoom meeting organized by Special Olympics Italy during which the athletes had the opportunity to ask him everything: from his career to football tips and even suggestions on how to deal with bullies!

Special Olympics Italy athletes enjoying a Zoom meeting with Alex del Piero.
Special Olympics Italy athletes enjoying a Zoom meeting with Alex del Piero.

Special Olympics Italy also participated in the region-wide digital activity and hub Faces of Football. Around 100 people between athletes, coaches and supporters signed up on the website and they reached 11th position of 58 competing Special Olympics programmes on the League Table!

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