Andrew Osborn

 

 

Chief Russia Correspondent

 

Deputy Bureau Chief Russia/CIS

 

Reuters

 

 

Chechnya's unlikely footballing allure: the football stars who went to Grozny

www.telegraph.co.uk, 8th March 2011 09:49

The volatile internal Russian republic of Chechnya organised an unlikely friendly football match in Grozny, the capital, on Tuesday evening.

A team of international all-stars took on a local side led by the republic's controversial strongman president Ramzan Kadyrov. Here is a list of the international players and former stars of yesteryear who thought it was worth the trip even though Mr Kadyrov claimed he was not paying anyone anything for the pleasure of playing against him.

1. Jose Roberto Gama de Oliveira or Bebeto as he is better known. The 47-year-old former forward was part of Brazil's World Cup-winning side in 1994. Now retired, he has since entered local politics in Rio de Janeiro.

2. Marcos Evangelista de Moraes or Cafu as he is better known. The 40-year-old former right back was named by Pele as one of the greatest living footballers in 2004. The most-capped Brazilian player of all time (143 caps), he was part of two World Cup-winning sides (1994 and 2002).

3. Carlos Caetano Bledorn Verri or Dunga as he is better known. The 47-year-old former Brazilian midfielder was part of Brazil's World Cup-winning side in 1994 and coached the Brazilian side in the 2010 World Cup.

4. Romario de Souza Faria who is usually just known as Romario. The 45-year-old Brazilian was one of the most prolific strikers in the world in his heyday and played a key role in winning the 1994 World Cup for his country. He has since entered Brazilian politics.

5. Lothar Matthaeus: Former German midfielder who played in five World Cups and now coaches Bulgaria. The 49-year-old famously captained Germany to win the World Cup in 1990. A former FIFA World Player of the Year.

6. Ruud Gullit: Former Dutch international and the man who coined the phrase "sexy football". Gullit, 48, signed up to be the manager of Chechnya's local football team, Terek Grozny, in January in a multi-million pound deal. He captained the Dutch team that won the 1988 European Football Championship.