FIFA World Cup: Indian students in Qatar get chance to get close to their idol Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo’s dream of winning the football’s biggest prize the FIFA World Cup faded away in Qatar on Saturday as Portugal crashed out to rank outsiders Morocco in the quarterfinal clash.

But many football dreams have been kick-started especially among the Indian community in Qatar as they got a chance to meet the football superstar, who is an idol to hundreds and thousands of young fans all over the world.

The likes of five-year-old Ebenezer Fernandez, eat, dream and sleep football and think about their idol all the time but his dream of meeting Ronaldo did not become a reality.

Instead, it was the likes of six-year-olds, Diya Angelina and Muhammed Ayaan who got a pleasant surprise to meet their football icon and shake hands with him as they got a chance to escort the players in Portugal vs South Korea match.

“My son is a great fan of Ronaldo and it was ten days before the Portugal-South Korea match they came to know that they will be going for the match, which one they were not sure,” said Farsana Fathima, whose son Muhammad Ayaan got a chance to hold veteran Portugal defender Pepe hand and accompany him to the playing turf.

Ayaan was one of the 40 students from the Indian school who got a chance to serve in different roles at the Education City Stadium and an opportunity for Indian school students in Qatar to get close to the football icon.

“He is super excited and all the time talks about meeting Ronaldo and Pepe and the special moments he shared with them ahead of the match, which Portugal lost but qualified for the last 16,” said Farsana, a mathematics teacher at an Indian school in Qatar and who traces her roots to Ernakulum district in Kerala.

“He is disappointed that Portugal lost in the quarterfinals but his love and passion for the game have increased manifold and he has installed a few more posters of the Portugal team and of his superheroes, Ronaldo and Pepe, in the bedroom and drawing room ever since he met them,” she added.

Ayaan was lucky to get close to Ronaldo and Pepe but his other classmates had to be satisfied getting close to the Korean players.

The luckiest one was Angelina who, like millions of fans and eager parents, wanted to meet the football icon.

“Mine and my parents’ one and only wish were that I escort CR7,” Angelina said.

For Angelina, it was a lifetime opportunity, who hails from Mysore in the Indian state of Karnataka and has links to the game with her grandfather having played at the national level and it was Jogo Bonito. which paved the way for him getting a job in the Railways.

“My grandfather was a good football player and even got a job in Railways through sports quotas. Hence me escorting the football players was a very exciting event for my entire family. We are from Mysore in Karnataka,” said the six-year-old, whose father Naveen Kumar works for Qatar Airways, and my mother Mary works in a school.

She was naturally excited ahead of the match and prepared well for the match.

“I woke up at 7 in the morning and started getting ready to reach school and travel to the stadium along with the school team. My entire day was enthusiastic, praying and wishing for the magical moment. Back in India my family members eagerly waited for the match to begin just to see me on screen.”

“The moment came when I saw the great legend Cristiano Ronaldo so close to me, he said hi to all of us. I couldn’t take my eyes off him. I imagined my parents’ wish, CR gave a sweet pat on my head and took hold of my hand, walked down the field tall and confident, my heart was filled with happiness, I looked up to him with a smile and there he smiled back at me. The journey was too short but this magical moment will be treasured, remembered and cherished throughout my life,” she said about the meeting.

Over the last few days, she has attained celebrity status among her family and friends.

“The last few days I have been flooded with thousands of questions like did you get an autograph? Get to hug Ronaldo, did you ask any questions, etc… My answer is ‘no’ since I was not aware that I would escort CR and moreover we were not allowed to carry a pen or anything with us”.

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