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    'Fantastic Tournament': Cristian Zaccardo Talks Russia, Football, 2018 World Cup

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    From July 10-13 Moscow hosted the international football tournament "Legends Super Cup" featuring retired professional football players. Sputnik has discussed this and the World Cup with an Italian footballer who was part of Italy's 2006 World Cup winning team.

    Eight teams from Russia, Germany, China, Portugal, France, Italy and the US, plus an all-star team, took part in the "Legends Super Cup" tournament. "Legends Super Cup" is a new large-scale project, which has no analogue in the football world. The cup’s motto is "Heroes of the past, Legends of the Present."

    Sputnik: Christian, do you like Russia?

    Cristian Zaccardo: This is my first time in Moscow and in Russia. It's a wonderful feeling to be here during the Championship. This fantastic tournament is perfectly organized. We attended the semi-final game between England and Croatia (on Wednesday), and before the match I visited Red Square, which I've heard so much about. Moscow is a beautiful city, you feel good here, even the climate is pleasant.

    Sputnik: Italy reached the finals of the "Legends Super Cup." Although your team lost to Russia, the game was still amazing, you once again proved that Italian football players are not famous for nothing, haven't you?

    Cristian Zaccardo: Many champions took part in the "Legends Super Cup" and it's a special feeling. It is always pleasant to see friends and colleagues who created football history again. I am very glad that I was invited to participate in this tournament, and we had fun playing together. I hope that the people who came to our matches also enjoyed the games.

    Sputnik: Now to the main question: who will win, France or Croatia?

    Cristian Zaccardo: Incredible things have been happening during this Wold Cup. In theory, the favorite is France, they are stronger, but we saw here that the theoretically stronger team did not always win. Perhaps there will be extra time, and for Croatia this will be the 4th time. We will see. But I think that nobody will be able to predict the results.

    Sputnik: When we say "penalty" and "France" in one sentence, then the 2006 finale in Berlin immediately comes to mind, while in this championship Croatia has already won twice in a penalty shootout. What emotions does a football player experience during the final of the championship?

    Cristian Zaccardo: When you go out on the field, you realize that there are thousands of people in the stadium, and millions more watching the game on TV screens. You are fighting for your country, it creates the feeling that the ball weighs 100 kilograms. The tension is off the scale, because there's a huge responsibility before you: by scoring or missing the ball, you decide the fate of the match, and it depends on you. What emotions the whole country will feel. If you manage your nerves, then you score, if not — then you make mistakes.

    Sputnik: What do you think about the transfer of Ronaldo to Juventus?

    Cristian Zaccardo: There are two champions: Messi and Ronaldo. Everyone wants to play with them. I, as an Italian fan, think that this is a good decision. This will be a breath of fresh air for Italian football: we did not get to go to the World Cup, and the transfer of Ronaldo to Juventus will give enthusiasm to the fans and more authority to the team. As a defender, I'm very interested in how Ronaldo will prove himself in Italy.

    Sputnik: Last year you found the team you played with via LinkedIn. Where will you be playing this season?

    Cristian Zaccardo: Last season I played in Malta for the "Hamrun Spartans", who offered me a job after seeing my profile in LinkedIn. I'm still in good shape and I want to continue playing football. Let's see if I can find anything interesting this season. I think that, most likely, I will be abroad, and not in Italy.

    Sputnik: What about Russia?

    Cristian Zaccardo: Why not? The stadiums built for the World Cup are amazing, and the perfect performance of the Russian team at this Championship demonstrates that the football movement is growing in Russia. So yes, I would have agreed to play in Russia. The problem is that in December I will turn 37, I do not think it will be easy to convince someone to put me on their team.

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    Legends Super Cup, 2018 FIFA World Cup, Cristian Zaccardo, Italy, Russia
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