Some of the biggest names in world football will congregate at the Nou Camp today for a unique charity match to raise money for the victims of the tsunami in South-east Asia.
In a joint venture by the world governing body, Fifa, and its European counterparts Uefa, the proceeds from the Ronaldinho XI v Shevchenko XI match-up will go to the Tsunami Solidarity Fund to help those involved in football in the affected areas.
Ronaldinho, Fifa's World Player of the Year, will lead one of the teams against a side captained by the European Footballer of the Year, Andrei Shevchenko. Luminaries lending a hand include David Beckham, Zinedine Zidane, Michael Ballack, Kaka, Thierry Henry and Raul.
Ronaldinho's team will be coached by Carlos Alberto Parreira and Frank Rijkaard while Marcello Lippi and Arsene Wenger will be in control of Shevchenko's side.
"Football is a game of the people and in this difficult time it is important that the football world is mobilised to help with the tsunami disaster," said the Uefa president, Lennart Johansson. "The football world has already acted quickly with Fifa pledging £1m and Uefa and the Asian Football Confederation £500,000 each. By organising this match, 'Football for Hope', between the Ronaldinho XI and the Shevchenko XI, we hope that not only will we raise much-needed further funds for the affected areas and people but also that we will do it while putting a smile on people's faces through the hope and solidarity shown by the beautiful game itself."
The Italian referee Pierluigi Collina will take control of the match and be assisted by Mohamed Saeed from the Maldives and Jason Joseph Damoo from the Seychelles.
The Barcelona president Joan Laporta offered the services of the 98,000-seat Nou Camp for free.
"I was horrified when I saw the disaster on the television. Horrified because it was a tragedy that killed innocent human lives," Laporta said. "The scale of it was so huge, in fact, that it called upon each and every one of us to come together to help in any way we can.
"I think football basically unites people against injustice, unfairness, and racism. Football is a union of players of all colours and creeds and brings people together at the same time, so it is very important to send out a positive message. Football should set an example."
One club who have refused to enter the spirit of the occasion are Arminia Bielefeld, of the German Bundesliga, who have refused permission for their South Africa striker Delron Buckley to play.
"Buckley obviously wanted the chance to play alongside some of the stars of world football in this game and to also make his own contribution to the tsunami appeal," his agent Rob Moore said. "He is really disappointed."
The 27-year-old, who scored twice for Bielefeld as they beat the Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich 3-1 on Sunday, was named in the original line-up but replaced when Arminia failed to respond to the request for their player's services. He was then reinstated when he said he wanted to play in the game, only for his club to decide that he needed a break.
The "Football for Hope" match is just one of a number of events organised across the world. The International Cricket Council raised more than $11m (£5.8m) with a charity match in January and has another planned for April.
The International Rugby Board have a game arranged for 5 March at Twickenham, while the Asian and European Tours of Golf have donated around $86,700.
In horse racing, the Coolmore stud raised $3.5m by auctioning the services of their stallions while leading tennis players have auctioned their rackets, and donated some of their winnings.
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