“The Battle of the Stars” will see “Messi and friends” compete against “the rest of the world” in a friendly match with proceeds from ticket sales at Bogota’s El Campin Stadium going to children’s foundations in Colombia. 85% of sales will go to the winning team’s charity of choice, with the remaining 15% going to the losing team’s foundation.
“We’ve done several of these events in various locations around the world, and now in Colombia and it’s an opportunity that we liked because we could help other foundations, other people and that makes us happy,” said Messi.
The match includes a bevy of South American talent including Messi’s Barcelona teammates Dani Alves and Alexis Sanchez, Internazionale strikers Diego Forlan and Diego Milito and Brazilian winger Robinho.
Colombia is well represented in the match with Giovanni Hernandez from the Liga Postobon appearing, along with F.C. Porto darling James Rodriguez and this year’s Europa League leading scorer, Falcao, who will captain “the rest of the world” squad.
Former Brazilian national team head coach Carlos Caetano Bledorn Verri, better known as Dunga, will man the sidelines for Messi’s team, and had this to say about the Atletico Madrid striker Falcao: “The hardest thing is to score goals and [Falcao] is good at that. Colombia should be in the World Cup because they have a great player.”
Tickets for the star-studded match range in price from $50 to $565 and the event’s organizer, Barco Andres, said he expects $3.5 million to be raised for charity.
Messi was in Colombia for a week ahead of Thursday’s friendly to assist in events put on by Cartagena’s District Institute of Sport and Recreation, which oversees youth soccer training programs.