Damian Lewis's goal for Grenfell Tower charity football match? Don't get nutmegged!

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Damian has one aim when he takes to the pitch for tomorrow’s Grenfell Tower charity football match — to avoid the kind of humiliation he suffered at the feet of one of the world’s greatest players.

Zinedine Zidane nutmegged the former Homeland star in front of 70,000 people at Old Trafford after Lewis clattered into him with a poor tackle during a 2010 Soccer Aid match.

This time Lewis, who grew up near Grenfell Tower, will be playing alongside stars including Sir Mo Farah, Olly Murs, Tinie Tempah and Alan Shearer at Loftus Road, home of Queens Park Rangers. Funds raised will go through London Community Foundation to the Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund before being distributed to survivors, and towards community projects.

Speaking to the Standard as he prepared to fly from America for the game, Lewis, 46, said: “I’m just aiming to not do as bad a tackle as I did on Zinedine Zidane a few years back, when I clattered into him at Old Trafford. Zinedine was not impressed but I had given him, well it was a very Paul Scholes tackle, we call it a ginger tackle — late and nowhere near the ball. He dealt with me in exactly the way that one of the best European footballers of all time should have dealt with me, which was to look me in the eye 15 minutes later and nutmeg me in front of 70,000 people, who spontaneously burst into laughter at my expense.

Damian Lewis with wife Helen McCrory (Todd Williamson/Getty Images)

“Then Jamie Redknapp chased me around for the next five minutes saying ‘Damo, calm down, they didn’t come to watch you’, which was very, very funny.” Lewis  lives in  Tufnell Park with his wife, fellow actor Helen McCrory, and their two children. He grew up in St John’s Wood and began playing football as a teenager on pitches at the Westway and Avondale Park sport centres, both in the shadow of the tower.

He paid tribute to the spirit of Londoners who helped survivors in the aftermath of the June inferno, saying: “It’s a very typical pocket of London where there are extremely wealthy residential streets rubbing up against less privileged housing estates, but Londoners have always been good at mucking in together, sharing local community services and helping each other out and this should be no exception wherever you come from, whatever your ethnicity or background.”

More than 2,000 tickets are being given to those directly affected by the fire, including families, the emergency services, volunteers and residents.

Tickets for #Game4Grenfell are £15 for adults and £5 for concessions. Call the QPR box office on 08444 777 007 or visit game4grenfell.com, where you can also donate. Live coverage will begin on Sky 1 and Pick from 2pm.


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