Former Ghana star Michael Essien has been named among 23 legends by Fifa as part of a campaign to promote this year’s Women’s World Cup in France.
Essien is one of ten men honoured with the legendary role which also includes 13 women.
The 23 international stars have been tasked with helping drive attendances at the tournament, generating engagement and inspiring a new generation to play women’s football through the initiative.
For the men in the legends team, Essien is joined by the likes of World Cup winners Marcel Desailly of France and Brazil’s Gilberto Silva, two-time UEFA Champions League winner Michel Salgado of Spain, Argentina’s Esteban Cambiasso, Australian Tim Cahill and former South Korean star Park Ji-sung
The 13 women named on the squad include two-time Olympic gold medalist and World Cup winner Kristine Lilly of the United States, France’s Laura Georges and former England international turned television pundit Alex Scott, joined by the likes of Scott’s ex-England team-mate Kelly Smith, Nadine Kessler of Germany and Canada’s Karina LeBlanc.
Each has been given a superhero name and superpower by Fifa.
“The eighth edition of the Fifa Women’s World Cup will be very special and it takes place at a time when women around the globe are uniting to make their voices heard,” said Fifa secretary general Fatma Samoura.
“The tournament’s official slogan ‘Dare to Shine’ echoes the current world movement towards female empowerment and I am looking forward to seeing teams of strong and passionate women, from 24 different countries, illuminate football stadiums in France with their skill.
“Our superheroes will help us to reach a global audience of one billion and make the Fifa Women’s World Cup France 2019 our biggest and best yet – for players, for fans, for local communities and for the empowerment of girls and women.”
The tournament is due to begin on June 7 with the grand finale set for July 7.