Football: Stars of yesteryear will play to win in Battle of the Masters

Liverpool Masters winger Steve McManaman (left) exchanges pre-match niceties with his Arsenal counterpart and Masters debutant Robert Pires. Left: Fans get a selfie with ex-Arsenal forward Nwankwo Kanu. The Gunners are keen to avenge their loss in In
Above: Fans get a selfie with ex-Arsenal forward Nwankwo Kanu. The Gunners are keen to avenge their loss in Indonesia.PHOTOS: MASTERS FOOTBALL ASIA
Liverpool Masters winger Steve McManaman (left) exchanges pre-match niceties with his Arsenal counterpart and Masters debutant Robert Pires. Left: Fans get a selfie with ex-Arsenal forward Nwankwo Kanu. The Gunners are keen to avenge their loss in In
Liverpool Masters winger Steve McManaman (left) exchanges pre-match niceties with his Arsenal counterpart and Masters debutant Robert Pires.PHOTOS: MASTERS FOOTBALL ASIA

Ex-players will go all out for victory in Battle of the Masters, aim to entertain the fans

Former Singapore international Aleksandar Duric will be ticking two items off his bucket list when the Singapore Masters play against the Arsenal and Liverpool Masters on Saturday.

The 47-year-old told The New Paper that it will his first time playing at the National Stadium and for good measure, he will be sharing the pitch with some of the former EPL stars he grew up admiring and watching.

Duric retired from the national team in December 2012, around eighteen months before the National Stadium opened its doors.

At the official press conference for the Battle of the Masters presented by American Express CapitaCard at Singapore Marriott Tang Plaza Hotel yesterday, self-confessed Arsenal fan Duric realised one other wish - taking a photo with former Arsenal forward Nwankwo Kanu.

He added: "They played for two of the biggest clubs in the world. I don't have the opportunity to travel and watch EPL live, so being able to play against them feels amazing.

"I've watched these guys play many years ago and I'm excited to meet them on the field this time."

The three teams will play each other in three 40-minute round-robin games, all in one day.

  • BATTLE OF THE MASTERS 

  • WHEN: Saturday 

    WHERE: National Stadium 

    TICKETS www.mastersfootball.com and www.sportshubtix.com 

    THE TEAMS (AS OF TUESDAY) 

    SINGAPORE MASTERS

    Fandi Ahmad, Aide Iskandar, Aleksandar Duric, Rezal Hassan, Zulkarnaen Zainal, Rafi Ali, Nazri Nasir, Steven Tan, Malek Awab, Dalis Supait, Noh Alam Shah, Indra Sahdan Daud, Noh Rahman, Fahmie Abdullah, S. Subramani, Nahar Daud

    LIVERPOOL MASTERS

    David James, Stephane Henchoz, Steve Harkness, Jan Kromkamp, Bjorn Tore Kvarme, Phil Babb, Fabio Aurelio, David Thompson, Jari Litmanen, Emile Heskey, Luis Garcia, Steve McManaman, Patrik Berger, Albert Riera, Robbie Fowler

    ARSENAL MASTERS

    Rami Shaaban, David Hillier, Lauren, Mikael Silvestre, Nigel Winterburn, Rhys Weston, Ian Selley, Gilberto Silva, Luis Boa Morte, Stefan Schwarz, Robert Pires, Jimmy Carter, Nwankwo Kanu, Anders Limpar, Omer Riza, Gus Caesar

While age may not be on the side of the players, Duric has promised that he and his team-mates including Fandi Ahmad, Rafi Ali and Noh Alam Shah will not be awe-struck in the presence of their idols and will give them a run for their money.

"Once the game starts, it won't be too friendly. We all want to win and like how we played football professionally, it's still in our blood to fight and win," said Duric.

"The fans can definitely expect good football and from my experience against Liverpool (at Jalan Besar Stadium) three years ago, I can tell you that those guys still have it."

This is Liverpool Masters' third trip here in four years, having beaten the Singapore and Manchester United Masters 3-1 and 2-0 in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

Former Liverpool winger Steve McManaman said: "It's important that we score goals and the crowd enjoy themselves.

"The Liverpool players are looking fit and they played well the other day, so hopefully it's the same for Saturday."

The 45-year-old was referring to the Balikpapan Masters Cup in Indonesia last Sunday when Liverpool beat their Arsenal counterparts 3-1. For former Arsenal and England full-back Nigel Winterburn, revenge is on his mind.

"I certainly hope that we can get revenge over Liverpool for the last game because the loss showed us that Liverpool have played together lots of times," said the 53-year-old.

"But I'm sure we'll entertain the fans with a good game of football, score some goals and get that win."

Former France midfielder Robert Pires, who will be making his debut with the Arsenal Masters, added: "It's a pleasure to be here because I get to meet some old players.

NO GUSHING ON THE PITCH

Once the game starts, it won't be too friendly. We all want to win and like how we played football professionally, it's still in our blood to fight and win.

ALEKSANDAR DURIC, ex-Lion, promising a spirited contest against the former Liverpool and Arsenal players on Saturday.

"I can't wait to explore the country, meet new people, try new food, and remember boys, we have a big revenge coming on Saturday."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 09, 2017, with the headline 'Past masters will play to win'. Print Edition | Subscribe