Ciro Ferrara has been unveiled as the official ambassador for this season's UEFA Europa League showpiece in Turin, performing his first duties in the role during the finals draw in Monaco.
Ferrara initially built his reputation at SSC Napoli, winning the UEFA Cup, two Serie A titles and a Coppa Italia alongside Diego Maradona, but it was with Turin giants Juventus that he experienced his greatest successes. A combative centre-back who collected 49 Italy caps, Ferrara won the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Super Cup with Juve in 1996, as well as a further five Scudetti and another Coppa Italia.
Overall, the 46-year-old spent 11 glorious years with the Bianconeri until he ended his playing career in 2005. After retirement, he joined the coaching staff of the Italian national team – headed up by his former Juve boss Marcello Lippi – and helped the Azzurri achieve glory at the 2006 FIFA World Cup. He then spent seven months in charge of Juve after being appointed as interim coach in May 2009, since when he has also held the reins of Italy's Under-21 side and Sampdoria.
"I would first like to thank UEFA for giving me the chance, it is a great competition and I have found excellent organisation," Ferrera told UEFA.com. "To be the ambassador of the Europa League makes me very pleased, happy and content.
"I think it is the same as for [UEFA Champions League final ambassador Luís] Figo yesterday, it is about representing a competition, representing UEFA for what they have shown over the last few years. I had the luck to win the UEFA Cup – back then it was the UEFA Cup, today it is the Europa League – and so I think [me being ambassador is also based on] that, because of the values expressed on the pitch and the technical skills I showed back then."
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