Four Special Olympics teams, including enthusiastic players with and without intellectual disabilities, have been showcasing their skills on the UEFA Champions Festival mini-pitch in Milan.
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Invited to the Champions Festival in Milan, UEFA social responsibility partner Special Olympics have been playing on the Castello Sforzesco mini-pitch built for the occasion.
The four teams from the Lombardy region in Italy played unified football, which usually includes three players with intellectual disabilities and two players without intellectual disabilities, in a spirit of companionship and sportsmanship.
The Special Olympics athletes met David Trezeguet and Gianluca Zambrotta. Both former star players kindly shared some of their time to come and support footballers of all abilities and grassroots football activities, ahead of the Ultimate Champions match on the same pitch later on Friday (kick-off is 16.00CET).
David Evangelista, acting regional president and managing director of Special Olympics: Europe Eurasia, said: "Since 2009, Special Olympics athletes have been invited to participate in the UEFA Champions League Festival and this year we are so pleased to be invited once again, to Milan. Special Olympics Italia athletes are excited and ready to show the public their talents on the pitch.
"UEFA's support and partnership is invaluable to Special Olympics across Europe and we are grateful and honoured to be involved once again. The experience that Special Olympics athletes enjoy is one they never forget as they get the opportunity to meet their football heroes and enjoy the support of family, fans and spectators pitchside. It's a truly amazing experience for them on a huge international stage."
Active in more than 170 countries, Special Olympics is a global movement gathering children and adults with intellectual disabilities, families and volunteers around sports activities with the aim to create a healthier, more welcoming world for all.
Open to both fans going to the finals and locals, the UEFA Champions Festival 2016 in Milan, takes place from Thursday 26 to Sunday 29 May between Piazza del Duomo and Castello Sforzesco. The full programme of music, football and big-screen entertainment is available online.
To find out more about the UEFA Football and Social Responsibility programme, please click here.