Who's playing in Soccer Aid 2018?

Who's playing in Soccer Aid 2018?

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Friday, 8th June 2018
(Credit: ITV)
Credit: ITV)

It's England vs The Rest of the World, battling it out to raise money and win the charity game of the year. But this is no ordinary kick about; with both teams featuring a combination of celebrities and footballing “legends”, it isn't just a case of honour or machismo, national pride is at stake.

Famous faces that have previously graced the Soccer Aid pitch have included: Will Ferrell, Mike Myers, Woody Harrelson, Gerard Butler, Edward Norton and James Corden.

Homeland and Billions actor Damien Lewis, who has proved quite popular with fans due to his ability as a pacey winger has and continues to be a permanent fixture on the England team. This year, he is joined on the by four-time Olympic champion Sir Mo Farah, as well as Soccer Aid regular, musician Olly Murs.

Soccer Aid was established in 2006 by former Take That member and successful solo singer Robbie Williams with Jonathan Wilkes to raise money for UNICEF, specifically to help children in danger around the world. The charity football matches take place at the famous Old Trafford stadium in Manchester. This year will be the seventh Soccer Aid event, which have so far raised over £24 million.

It's an exciting event and one where anything can happen, as Olly Murs found out in 2016.

“Looking around and realising you’re having a kick about with sporting legends, massive Hollywood stars and national treasures is a proper “pinch yourself” moment – and you can never predict what’s going to happen,” commented Robbie Williams, who captains the England team this year. He added, “There have been so many massive moments in the past 12 years, but nothing felt quite as special as playing on the same field and Maradona in 2006.”

Welsh actor Michael Sheen (The Damned United) has led the Rest of the World team as Captain on four previous occasions, but this year sees him step aside to perform the role of Coach, with Usain Bolt filling the role of Captain. He's got the speed but has he got the endurance to last the 90 minutes and help his team thwart the 4-2 run of wins that the England team are currently on. 

Footballing legends from past matches on both sides have included the likes of Diego Maradona, Ronaldinho, Zinedine Zidane, Alan Shearer, Ryan Giggs, Luis Figo, Edwin van der Sar, Franco Baresi and Romário.

This year marks the fourth time the UK government has pledged to match all public donations pound for pound.

Coverage of the live football match will take place on Sunday 10 June, presented by seasoned hosts Dermot O’Leary and Kirsty Gallacher for ITV. ITV match day commentary will also be provided by Clive Tyldesley and Robbie Savage. 

The Teams

England celebrities

Robbie Williams

The Unicef UK ambassador has been the driving force behind Soccer Aid since its launch in 2006. He said, “Reclaiming the title for England this year is going to taste so much sweeter with Usain leading the Soccer Aid World XI.”

Sir Mo Farah

This will be the first appearance at Soccer Aid for Unicef for the four time Olympic Champion and fervent Arsenal fan.

Paddy McGuinness

Comedian, actor and presenter Paddy McGuinness has been a regular fixture, having played in four matches so far. He has a reputation for being quite the trickster, commenting, “I’ve stitched up and pranked a few players over the years – and let me tell you, this year nobody is safe! – but in all seriousness I’m here to help raise money for a great cause. Usain’s OK up to 9.58 seconds but the game is 90 minutes, let’s see what he’s got in the tank!”

Mark Wright

Presenter Mark is making his second appearance at Soccer Aid for Unicef. His match-winning free kick in 2016’s match was one of the best goals Soccer Aid has ever seen.

Andrew "Freddie" Flintoff

This match marks the first appearance for England cricketing legend Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff,  pitting his footballing skills up against his former England cricketing team mate, Kevin Peitersen.

Olly Murs

Singer songwriter, actor and The Voice presenter Olly has become a regular fixture in the Soccer Aid for Unicef England Team, he said, “I got a lot of stick last year for not getting on the scoresheet, so I’m more determined than ever this year to redeem myself!!”

Lee Mack

Comedian and actor Lee Mack makes his Soccer Aid for Unicef debut this year. He joked, “It’s always been an ambition of mine to play alongside such footballing legends as Eric Cantona, Robbie Fowler and Paddy McGuiness. And although I accept trying to catch Usain Bolt might seem unlikely, what he doesn’t know is that I have a personal best over 200 meters of 19.5 seconds. Actually … I think it was a 100 meters.”

Damian Lewis

Hollywood and small screen superstar and Soccer Aid regular, Damien Lewis, returns for the fourth time. The pacey winger has impressed fans on his previous outings and hopes to do the same again this time.

Joe Wicks

Another Soccer Aid debutant, the TV presenter and author, Joe will be hoping his supreme fitness will help him and England to victory on the day.

Myles Stephenson

One quarter of X Factor 2017 winners Rak-Su also makes his first appearance this year.

England Legends

David Seaman

The legendary Arsenal and England goalkeeper nicknamed ‘Safe-Hands’ commented, “Looking at the names involved this year I know it’s going to be bigger and better than ever... I am delighted, too, that every pound you donate will be matched by the government, so please lend us your support.”

Phil Neville

The former Manchester United and England defender says: “This is going to be the best game yet. The England team looks really strong. I’ll just be hoping to avoid being pranked on the bus this time – I still haven’t lived the last one down!”

Jamie Redknapp

Marking his fifth Soccer Aid appearance, the former Liverpool and England star and son of manager Harry said, “Every former pro will tell you that they really miss playing, so I jump at any chance to pull my boots on again – especially for Soccer Aid for Unicef. I’ve not done too badly in these games over the years but I think both line-ups this year are stronger than ever.”

Danny Murphy

The former Liverpool and England player makes his second appearance.

Michael Owen

Making his debut appearance, another former Liverpool and England player, Michael Owen says: “Pulling on the England shirt was always a huge honour for me and it will feel very special to do that again.”

Wes Brown

An impressive Manchester United and England career, saw the defender make over 230 appearances for United, helping them to win five Premier League titles and two Champion’s League trophies.

The England Management Team consists of short-lived former England coach Sam Allardyce serving as Manager with Robbie Williams, actor and presenter Bradley Walsh, comedian John Bishop and presenter Ben Shephard serving as Assistant Managers. The Goal Keeping Coach is Mike Stowell.

The Rest of the World celebrities

Usain Bolt

Currently the world record holder in the 100 metres, 200 metres and 4 × 100 metres relay, he is widely considered to be the greatest sprinter of all time. On making his Soccer Aid debut, as captain of the Soccer Aid World XI he commented, “It is my dream to make it as a professional footballer, so to be able to step out onto the pitch at Old Trafford in June, and play against some of football’s biggest legends is going to be remarkable.”

Gordon Ramsay

A veteran of the competition, having been involved since the first year, the Michelin starred chef, restaurateur and TV personality returns to Soccer Aid after missing the 2016 match due to injury. Before becoming a chef he was an aspiring footballer and had a brief spell at Rangers in the 1980s but a knee injury halted his career.

Kevin Pietersen

Swapping a cricket bat for the football, the former England cricket captain will make his Soccer Aid debut,  going head to head with his former England team mate, Freddie Flintoff.

Brendan Cole

In his debut appearance, the former Strictly Come Dancing star swaps the ballroom for the football pitch. He commented, “To be able to finally announce that I will be swapping my dancing shoes for football boots this summer feels incredible. What’s bigger than the nation’s love of dancing? The nation’s love of the beautiful game, of course and I’m aiming for tens across the board”.

Ashley Fongho

Pitting his footballing skills against fellow RaK-Su band mate, Fongho makes his initial appearance.

Dan Carter

The All Blacks rugby legend who won the World Cup with New Zealand in 2015 swaps the oval ball for a round one.

Martin Compston

The Scottish actor and star of Line of Duty and Monarch of the Glen Martin returns to Soccer Aid after making his debut in 2014.

Ioan Gruffudd

Welsh actor Ioan, who recently he played the lead in ITV’s critically acclaimed drama Liar but has had a long and industrious career in Hollywood prior to this in films such as 101 Dalmatians and Titanic. Ioan makes his Soccer Aid debut this year, hoping to help his team mates win prize the coveted trophy back from the England team.


Last few tickets available for @socceraid at http://socceraid.org.uk

A post shared by Usain St.Leo Bolt (@usainbolt) on

Rest of the World legends

Eric Cantona

The Manchester United legend turned actor played 143 times scoring 64 goals in his career with the club, said: “There is no place like home. Knowing I am coming back to Old Trafford is a special feeling and I am looking forward to seeing the stands full of familiar faces.”

Edwin Van Der Sar

Arguably one of the best goalkeepers of his generation van der Sar enjoyed spells with Ajax, Juventus and Fulham before moving to Old Trafford in 2005. During six years with Manchester United he won four Premier Leagues, a UEFA Champions League and a League Cup.

Jaap Stam

An imposing central defender, Stam won trophies with some of Europe’s top clubs across his 15-year career. Included in this was a three-year stay at Manchester United, where he is remembered as part of the 1999 treble-winning side.

Clarence Seedorf

The four-time UEFA Champions League Winner with AC Milan and Real Madrid returns to the Soccer Aid for Unicef World XI line-up having last appeared in 2014 where he scored a hat trick as his side beat England 4-2.

Robert Pires

A key player in Arsenal’s 2003/04 ‘Invincibles’ team and an integral member of the 1998 FIFA World Cup and Euro 2000 winning teams with France, will make his Soccer Aid debut.

Yaya Toure

Three-time Premier League winner with Manchester City FC who played more than 100 times for the Ivory Coast, as well as winning La Liga and the UEFA Champions League following a three-year period at FC Barcelona, makes his first appearance.

Patrick Kluivert

Having scored goals for the likes of Ajax, AC Milan and Barcelona during a glittering career which saw him win domestic league titles in Holland and Spain, as well as the ’95 UEFA Champions League, Kluivert makes his first appearance.

Robbie Keane

Making his debut appearance this year, the Republic of Ireland legend scored a total of 68 goals for the national team over an 18-year career, making him the all-time record Irish scorer. His 146 caps make him their highest appearance-maker.

Eric Cantona also serves as Manager, with Michael Sheen as Coach and Goal Keeping Coach is Vic Bettinelli. 

Coverage starts at 6.30pm on Sunday 10 June live on ITV

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It's England vs The Rest of the World, battling it out to raise money and win the charity game of the year. But this is no ordinary kick about; with both teams featuring a combination of celebrities and footballing “legends”, it isn't just a case of honour or machismo, national pride is at stake.