Lionel Messi wants to help the Willow Foundation, and so do we.
The number 10 is many things in football. It is a position, with occupants of the shirt tending to play as a forward – or just behind the strikers. It is also a number associated with many icons of the game. Pele, Maradona, Zidane, Ronaldinho, Rooney, and Messi are all synonymous with the number 10 and will go down in history as some of the greatest men to have ever played football.
The Willow Foundation is a charity which aims to provide seriously ill 16-40 year olds with special days out, and they have got their hands on eleven signed number 10 international shirts from some of the world’s top players at the 2010 World Cup.
Lionel Messi of Argentina, Australia’s Harry Kewell, Kaka of Brazil, England’s Wayne Rooney, Germany’s Lukas Podolski, Japan’s Shunsuke Nakamura, Dutch star Rafael Van Der Vaart, Nigerian Jon Mikel Obi, South African Steven Pienaar and Spaniard Cesc Fabregas are the current incumbents who have donated their shirt for the cause – as well as France legend Zinedine Zidane.
Each of the shirts will be displayed in the window of Harrods on Hans Crescent, as well as inside at Team Sports and the Sound and Vision department.
Nick Chalkley, Sport General Merchandise Manager at Harrods, was “delighted to be working with the Willow Foundation to showcase this exclusive collection of signed ‘top 10’ shirts. The Willow Foundation’s association with football is unsurpassed and the auction offers our customers the opportunity to buy collectables as history happens. Who knows…one of the shirts may be signed by the player who scores the winning goal in the 2010 World Cup Final.”
The all-star collection will then be auctioned on eBay between for ten days beginning on July 3rd – with bids beginning at just 1p – and 100% of the auction money will reach the Willow Foundation.
Former Arsenal and Scotland goalkeeper Bob Wilson, who is also co-founder of the Willow Foundation, noted “In 2010 the No 10 position and individual performances of players such as Rooney, Fabregas, Messi, Kaka and Deco cannot be underestimated. Every country will be looking to their No 10 players to score the goals that will help make them world champions. The Willow Foundation could not have hoped for greater players to participate in our world class charity auction in association with Harrods and we are honoured to have the support of so many No 10 players from competing nations.”
The money will go towards helping these young adults come to terms with life threatening illnesses such as cancer, motor neurone disease, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy and organ failure, and every small step to make their lives easier counts.
The shirts can be viewed online at www.willowfoundation.org.uk/worldcupauction or www.harrods.com/worldclassfootballauction and you can register your interest in advance before bidding opens on July 3rd 2010.
Good luck everyone!