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Watch: Serie A stars Vieri, Candela fall in love with Malta

From left: Nicola Ventola, Christian Vieri, Serginho, Dida, Gianluca Zambrotta, Luigi Di Biagio, Demetrio Albertini and Vincent Candela pose before the start of the Legends Malta Cup. Photo: Matthias Brancaleone

Say Inter, Roma have a chance in Euro finals

Former Italian football stars Christian Vieri and Vincent Candela were delighted to showcase their new padel skills on the island of Malta.

The two footballers-turned-padel players were part of a star-studded Legends Padel Malta Cup which was held over the last weekend.

The first edition of the Legends Padel Malta Cup has been organised by lk Padel, in collaboration with the Malta Tourism Authority (MTA), SoBe Sport, one of the main Italian Sports Marketing company with the support of 356 Entertainment, the Manager Andrea Guidi and the promoter Thomas Tarsia.

The event attracted numerous people who had the opportunity to watch their football heroes closely, thanks also to a meet and greet opportunity with the players.

Vieri and Candela were joined by six other former Serie A players in Demetrio Albertini, Luigi Di Biagio, Nicola Ventola, Dida, Serginho and Gianluca Zambrotta.

Dida, a Milan icon, and Di Biagio, who played for the likes of Roma and Inter, triumphed in this tournament after beating a local representative in the final.

An Inter Hall of Famer, Vieri heaped praise on the island of Malta and was pleased with the opportunity of challenging his former colleagues in a different sport other than football.

Video: Chris Sant Fournier

“I give full marks to this island because we enjoyed our stay. It’s a pity that we have to return to Italy,” Vieri told the Times of Malta.

“Padel has emerged as the new trend in the last couple of years and we ex-players are finding a new energy
and adrenaline in this new sport.”

Former Roma and France international Candela echoed Vieri’s thoughts as he was pleasantly surprised by the island of Malta.

“I did not know about this paradise and I will make sure to return to this country,” he pointed out.

Raising the curtains on this tournament was a charity event where all the football legends were present while an auction of signed football shirts worn by legendary players was held, with all the proceeds going to Puttinu Cares.

Gian Luca Voulaz, founder of SoBe Sport which represents these football players, hopes that this project can lead to other collaborations with the island of Malta.

“I hope we can partner in future projects so that we return to Malta as we had a great time here,” Voulaz said.

“Malta is very close to us and their passion towards these football players was shown throughout this event, so for us, it is a good opportunity to have such an event organised on this island.”

Video: Chris Sant Fournier

Calcio on the rise

The coming weeks will be one of the most important in the recent history of the Italian game with three
representatives set to feature in all UEFA club competition finals.

Most of the attention is on Vieri’s former side Inter, with whom he won the 2004/2005 Coppa Italia, as they will be taking on a formidable Manchester City side in June’s Champions League final.

“We are all seeing that this Manchester City team is very difficult to beat,” he said.

“Usually, the best team qualifies in a two-legged tie but being a single game, everything can happen, so we have to wait and see what happens in Istanbul.”

Vieri also shed light on the importance of having three Italian teams in the final, describing it as a potential sliding door for the rise of Italian football.

Christian Vieri in action during the Malta Legends Cup tournament. Photo: Matthias Brancaleone.

While Fiorentina will be facing West Ham United in the much-anticipated Europa Conference League final, Roma will be vying for a second straight European success as they will contend the Europa League against all-time winners Sevilla.

A former Scudetto winner with the Giallorossi, Candela is upbeat about Roma’s chances of triumphing in Budapest.

“Roma has the potential to beat the queen of this competition,” he underlined.

“They have a great coach, there is a positive atmosphere and the organisation has done a brilliant job. They have all they need to be successful again.”

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