Wayne Rooney, Philipp Lahm, Hugo Lloris, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Gareth Bale help tell the extraordinary story of the 1914 Christmas truce in a powerful UEFA film.
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Wayne Rooney, Philipp Lahm, Hugo Lloris, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Gareth Bale tell the story of the 1914 Christmas truce in the words of the men on the front line in a powerful UEFA film.
The four-minute clip, scripted by Warhorse author Michael Morpurgo, brings to life the extraordinary events in Flanders 100 years ago, when, on a cold December evening, soldiers on both sides of the battle lines lowered their arms, started singing Christmas carols and – significantly – played football together. The words of ordinary soldiers' letters home about the extraordinary moment of togetherness are read out by current football stars Rooney, Lahm, Lloris, Schweinsteiger and Bale, with further contributions from Sir Bobby Charlton, France coach Didier Deschamps, former German international Paul Breitner and UEFA President Michel Platini.
Manchester United FC great Sir Bobby said: "I am absolutely flattered to have the opportunity to take part in this film. It is such a great feeling to imagine that, in something completely devastating like war, football brings everyone together." President of France François Hollande added: "This universal sport briefly gave those soldiers a chance to lay down their arms and their uniforms. They were no longer Frenchmen, Englishmen, Germans or Belgians that Christmas morning in 1914; they were just men. This story is the greatest tribute that could ever be paid to sport and to football."
"I think it's very significant that UEFA have done this – and that the politicians and footballers from different countries have joined together, realising and understanding the significance of this particular story for us today," said Morpurgo. "It's because we all recognise that this was a moment of real hope for the men who took part in it. It was dashed hope, but then all these years later it has been, to a great extent, a realised hope. Sadly they weren't alive to see it but it seems to me that, for all nations, when you go to war you don't fight a war in order to make another war afterwards. If there was a thought in the head of those soldiers, it must have been: I'm doing this, yes because I want my side to win, but I want my children and my children's children to live in peace."