035 – Henrik Larsson to say goodbye to Old Trafford as member of Marcello Lippi's Europe XI squad
Swedish striker Henrik Larsson, scorer of Manchester United's goal in Wednesday's UEFA Champions League victory over LOSC Lille Métropole, is set to say goodbye to the fans at Old Trafford as a member of the European squad to face United on Tuesday 13 March in the Celebration Match which marks the English club's 50 years in Europe and the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome.
Five other players have also confirmed their intention to accept the invitation to take part in the match at Old Trafford. In the European attack, Henrik Larsson is to be joined by his Swedish national team partner Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The FC Internazionale Milano forward will be joined on the trip to Manchester by two of his club-mates: central defender Marco Materazzi and left-sided defender/midfielder Fabio Grosso, who scored a crucial extra-time goal for Italy against Germany in the FIFA World Cup semi-final and went on to convert the decisive penalty which clinched the world crown for Marcello Lippi's team in the final against France in Berlin.
The Italian duo will team up with one of their opponents in the FIFA World Cup final, as Marcello Lippi has added the Olympique Lyonnais midfielder Florent Malouda to his squad. The French international played all 120 minutes against Italy in Berlin but didn't take a penalty in the decisive shoot-out.
The Europe XI has been further strengthened by the presence of FC Bayern München goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, who is delighted to be able to return to Old Trafford, the scene of great UEFA Champions League encounters in recent years.
It means that he and Grégory Coupet will be available to defend the European net, while Jamie Carragher, Eric Abidal, Lilian Thuram, Gianluca Zambrotta and Carles Puyol will join the FC Internazionale duo in the defensive department. With David Beckham unfortunately ruled out by his sprained knee ligament, Malouda will be joined in midfield by Steven Gerrard and Olympique Lyonnais free-kick specialist Juninho Pernambucano, with Ronaldinho linking midfield and attack.
The names of other members of the Europe XI squad to face United at 20:00 local time on Tuesday 13 March will be confirmed after the weekend's fixtures.
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