Vettel to captain football team in Schumacher tribute

© XPB 

Sebastian Vettel will captain the Nazionale Piloti football team in a tribute match to Michael Schumacher ahead of the German Grand Prix.

The match - known as Champions for Charity - will see a number of drivers take on a team led by basketball superstar Dirk Nowitzki at the Coface Arena in Mainz. The event will take place on July 27 ahead of the returning race in Hockenheim, with proceeds going to two German charities.

Schumacher played for the Nazionale Piloti on numerous occasions and the match has also received the support of his family after he was left with serious head injuries following a skiing accident in December 2013.

"The Champions for Charity match has been developed in close cooperation between the Dirk Nowitzki Stiftung and Michael Schumacherʼs management and is also intended to be a Thank You from Michaelʼs family to all the fans of the seven times F1 world champion who continuously support him," the event organisers said.

Vettel will lead the Nazional Piloti team and says it will be "very special" to be playing in an event which acts as a tribute to Schumacher.

"To kick off the weekend with a match of the Nazionale Piloti is a great start to the German Grand Prix," Vettel said. "We usuallly have a lof of fun playing soccer, and of course it means something very special to us to play in honour of Michael. We will give our best to defend the reputation of us racing drivers and to beat Dirkʼs team."

Schumacher's manager Sabine Kehm added her backing for the match.

"Over many years Michael has been both an initiator and integral part of charity soccer matches, often playing with the Nazionale Piloti but also in other teams and sometimes playing together with Dirk Nowitzki," Kehm said. "Both of them clicked immediately, so this combination fits very well. We are happy that together with Dirk we can offer a real highlight to the many fans who we would like to thank for their continous support with this match. We hope they will have a lot of fun that evening."

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