ITALIAN legend Fabio Cannavaro will bring part of Sydney to a standstill on Saturday when Leichhardt is closed off in his honour as he hits town for the Tiger Street Soccer tournament.
The 2006 World Cup-winning Italian captain will be welcomed with honorary citizenship in Sydney's Italian heartland of Norton Street turned over to him at midday on Saturday.
Cannavaro - Italy’s most capped player and winner of both the FIFA World Footballer of the Year and football’s most prestigious individual award, the Ballon D’Or - is in Australia for the Tiger Street Soccer tournament at the Overseas Passenger Terminal on Circular Quay this weekend.
But Leichhardt Mayor Darcy Byrne couldn't let the talismanic Italian visit the city without letting the public pay tribute to his genius.
“We are expecting a huge gathering with a fanatical atmosphere from loyal fans, probably not seen since Italy’s winning World Cup championship night,” he said.
He ordered the entire street to be shut down to allow Cannavaro to meet fans and sign autographs where Norton St meets Wetherill St & Short St.
Afterwards, Cannavaro will preside over the fabulous caged football tournament where Tiger Street Football pros from Spain, Germany, Vietnam and Malaysia will battle out against some of Australia’s finest on matches over Saturday and Sunday.
Among the Australian competitors are the inaugural winners of the first ever Australian Tiger Street Football tournament, The Street Vipers as well as the Victorian State champions, the Bayside Pirates.
Hosted in seven countries in 2013, the Australian national tournament will take place over the two days incorporating 32 local teams and four international teams. On day one, 32 teams will play a $5000 prize money knockout tournament to find the Australian national champions.
The top four teams from Day One will also qualify to play against four international teams for a Day Two prize pool of $8500. The Day One Australian Champions will head to China in October to play for the grand final check of US$30,000. Total prize money across the regional finals and Grand Final is $127,500.
More than just a spectacular display of the best street football, Tiger Street Football is a lively carnival featuring plenty of on and off pitch action with a host of activities such as skills showcase and exclusive autograph sessions with Cannavaro, Tiger Cage Girls, games, DJs and the Tiger graffiti artist.
FourFourTwo will also be at the festival, capturing the action and also interviewing Cannavaro so get along and enjoy the show and all the footy action.