Outside the UK the name Gary Neville may not mean much, but in the world of soccer he is regarded as one of the country’s best players. Neville is also one of the most eco-friendly footballers in the world, and the soccer star has just unveiled his five year plan to turn ‘the beautiful game’ into a serious, green sport. Gary Neville has made headlines before on Inhabitat with his planned eco-home, but now he issuing his Old Trafford testimonial (he plays for Manchester United) to encourage supporters to consider environmental issues.

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All proceeds from Neville’s initiative will be shared between a project to build a supporters’ club center  near Old Trafford and Sustainability in Sport, an organization dedicated to encouraging sports clubs to use alternative forms of energy.

Neville is showcasing alternative energy’s potential this weekend in a match against Juventus. All energy used at the 76,000-seater stadium – from the power for the floodlights to the heating elements in the catering stalls – is to be provided by 52 windmills across the UK operated by Ecotricity.

“Over the past five years a series of events have made me recognize that I need to make a personal change in my lifestyle,” said Neville, who retired earlier this year.

“I’ve changed my car, I’m more aware of locally produced foods and I’m building a zero-carbon home. I still have a lot of changes to make and I’m sure if you followed me you could pick a lot of holes in my life. But it’s a journey I want to make and one I feel we’ll all have to make.”

“I recognized that we had to change our energy consumption and knew that I couldn’t make the difference in one day, so I decided it was going to be a five-year plan and that I would try to be someone who could promote the message, make it more accessible and encourage people to join in.”

Fellow England footballer David James also recently raised awareness about environmental issues by hugging a tree. It’s nice to see footballers do something positive for once – it’s all too rare an occurence.

via Yahoo Sport