Photos: Prince Albert and Princess Charlene watch on as Barbagiuans battle Cirque FC for Fights AIDS Cup

Despite every effort on the part of Prince Albert and Louis Ducruet’s Barbagiuans, they simply couldn’t keep up with the ever-stylish Cirque FC, who walked away with their third Fight AIDS Cup win: 3-2.

The fourth edition of the Fight AIDS Cup was held at the Stade Louis II on the evening of 22nd January to the shouts and cheers of local fans who turned out to support their chosen side. 

At one end of the pitch were Prince Albert’s Barbagiuans, a mix of Monegasques and those with ties to Monaco, including F1 driver Charles Leclerc and Princess Stéphanie’s son Louis Ducruet, who were playing in the national colours of red and white.

At the other was a mix of international personalities, such as the former professional players Clarence Seedorf and Robert Pires, who both proved crucial to the success of Cirque FC.  

Monegasque F1 driver Charles Leclerc delighted fans by posing for pictures and taking selfies at the Stade Louis II. Photo credit: Frédéric Nebinger

Princess Stéphanie’s Cirque FC took an early lead against the home side thanks to goals from Youri Djorkaeff and Clarence Seedorf. Robert Pires furthered their advantage, bringing the score to 3-0, after Gaël Givet committed a foul in the penalty box. Prince Albert, who was joined on the sidelines by Princess Charlene, jokingly shouted for VAR, but there was none available.

As the players returned from the changing rooms after halftime, it was clear that the determination was still there for the reinvigorated Barbagiuans. The scores climbed to 3-1 when Javier Ernesto Chevanton put the ball into Cirque FC’s net. Then he scored again, but his goal was disallowed, despite “friendly protests from the sovereign”.  

Before the game was up, the Uruguayan forward got another goal under his belt, taking the final tally to 3-2.  

Sébastien Frey, the captain of Cirque FC, commented on the victory, saying, “I’m delighted to have won the Fight Aids Cup for the third time… Once again this year, we were able to raise substantial funds for Fight AIDS Monaco.” 

Ducruet, meanwhile, had some words to share on the spirit and success of the event.

“This fourth edition has lived up to all its promises. I’m proud to see the Fight AIDS Cup evolve, always with the presence and support of football legends,” he said. “The idea is to put the spotlight back on the charity, and once again we’ve done just that. I know that the funds raised will be put to good use and I’m delighted to be contributing to the development and sustainability of Fight AIDS Monaco through the organisation of this event. I would have liked to keep the title for another year, but that’s the way it is. I saw that the participants enjoyed themselves, as did the public, and that’s what really counts. I congratulate Cirque FC and we’ll be back next year for a sporting result that I hope will be in Barbagiuans’ favour.” 

The total amount raised by the event is yet to be confirmed, but the 2023 edition generated an impressive €180,000, which was given to Fight AIDS Monaco to support its charity projects and campaigns here in both the Principality and abroad.  

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Photo credit: Frédéric Nebinger