THE typical footballer’s summer holiday to Las Vegas is not to the liking of Newcastle United’s Captain Marvel.
While his more youthful colleagues zig-zag the globe to destinations as diverse as California, Dubai and the Caribbean, Fabricio Coloccini will be back in Cordoba – raising money for his charitable foundation.
The close season sees Coloccini and his family hosting an all-star testimonial match to raise funds and help Cordoba’s street kids – a cause close to the Newcastle defender’s heart.
It will be part of a festival of events in aid of the Mama Silvia Foundation next month – the peak of which will be an 11-a-side game bringing together some of the legends of the Argentinian game.
Coloccini is still waiting for confirmation of the final line-ups, but hopes the likes of Fernando Redondo and Juan Sorin may yet be coaxed out of retirement to help out. He will be flicking through a contacts book that was bolstered by spells in Milan and Coruna to turn it into a star-studded occasion.
Perhaps the biggest advantage is the patronage of legendary youth coach Roman Madonni, who is Coloccini’s mentor and counts some of the finest talents in world football as proteges. The bond between his ex-pupils is a strong one.
“This summer I will go to Argentina to spend time with my family – I know some are looking for sun but it is winter over there!” Coloccini told The Journal.
“But this is an important time for my Foundation too. We have decided to have a game with some ex-players in aid of the foundation – we are looking to invite some big players to come over and play.
“We are looking at the moment. Some live in Argentina, some are overseas but they will be good names to come here and I can’t wait to meet them.
“I will also invite Roman – we would like to get some of his former players involved. I don’t know whether he will be able to come because he’s working at that time but it will be nice if he can come.”
Although a high-profile boost for Coloccini’s charity, the 29-year-old is not organising the match for the publicity that it will attract back in Cordoba. Instead it is part of his family’s efforts to combat the problem of homelessness and poverty in the unforgiving, industrial city in the centre of Argentina. The foundation uses sport and football to help break down social boundaries and encourage integration between the social classes. “The important thing is to raise money and to give food and clothes to the children in Cordoba that we help out,” he said.
“If we can help them it is a big thing and also if ex-players are playing then more people will find out about it.
“For me, it is important to talk to them and to listen to them and their experiences. You always learn from listening to them and whatever I hear, I will bring back to Newcastle United.”
The game will also give Coloccini the chance to strap his football boots on during the summer break. He is set to manage one of the teams – but will also help bolster their back four for a brief period. “I will play – I will play for five or ten minutes!” he said. “It would only be for fun, it is not important if we win or lose. But it will be fun to be part of it.”
Although thoughts have turned to his summer break, Coloccini is excited about the challenge that lies ahead of Newcastle next season.
The European goal was achieved and the defender feels a sense of vindication about the way things have progressed. “When I first came, I told people we would play in Europe. The reporters looked at me as if I had said something stupid,” he said.
“I wondered why a club of this size couldn’t do it.
“That is why I signed in the first place – I knew it was a big, big club. The fans and the stadium were in place for us to be one of the top, top teams. Now things are in place for that to happen. It is coming close to being true.” Coloccini has dedicated their European achievement to the “city” – telling them to enjoy the voyage into the Europa League.
He said: “Europe is very important. We will play alongside the best teams in Europe and for the club to be among them is massive.
“It is big for us as players but I am so thankful because it will excited the supporters too. They will travel in numbers to wherever we play, we know that. For the city, it puts us on the map. It is a fantastic achievement and I want people to enjoy it.”