Michael Schumacher's love of football will make for a busy schedule between the British and German grands prix, as the multiple world champion fits in two matches for charity.

Kicking off last night with a match on Portugal's Algarve, in which he featured in an All Star line-up playing for the Luis Figo Foundation, Schumacher will have a few days of F1 testing in which to wind down before his next engagement, in Germany, ahead of next weekend's GP.

As was the case in 2003, when he first played in the Portuguese encounter, Schumacher was looking forward to lining up with soccer stars of the calibre of Zinedine Zidane, Raul, Ronaldo, Michael Ballack and Figo himself.

"What a night!" he enthused, "Last year was fantastic. I love football, but I'm playing with guys that can do anything with a football... and they let me play with them. They don't leave me out or treat me like a decoration."

After the match, Schumacher flies straight to Jerez where, on Thursday and Friday, he will wrap up the latest test of the all-conquering F2004 ahead of the German GP, coincidentally bringing an end to summer testing. Then, before his home race, there will be more football - the partita di cuore in Mannheim.

Another charity match, held for the benefit of UNESCO, the game will again feature round ball stars such as Figo and Miguel Salgado, as well as German players past and present, such as Ottmar Hitzfeld, Stefan Effenberg, Lothar Matth?us, Andreas M?ller, Thorsten Fink, Thomas Helmer, J?rgen Kohler, Karl-Heinz Riedle and Stefan Reuter.

"I have to say that this match has, for years, had a special meaning for me," Schumacher admitted, "The Mannheim stadium always has a great atmosphere, and I think that we will have lots of fun. The fans will enjoy it the most."

 

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