Saturday , March 2 2024

Vietnamese freestyle footballer meets Cristiano Ronaldo

Freestyle footballer Do Kim Phuc fulfilled his dream of meeting Cristiano Ronaldo when he spoke with the Portuguese star in Saudi Arabia and got his signature.

Phuc and Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia. Photo courtesy of Phuc

Phuc and Ronaldo in Saudi Arabia. Photo courtesy of Phuc

Phuc said he had only four days between being notified he would visit Al Nassr football club, where Ronaldo plays, and his departure. The Saudi Arabian embassy supported him in his visa application and it took him only one day to get the visa.

He asked his younger sister to prepare a special gift for Ronaldo. She chose a traditional Vietnamese conical hat, painting an image of Ronaldo celebrating a goal on it, together with the flags of Vietnam and Portugal, and the words “From Vietnam with love.”

Phuc gives Ronaldo a Vietnamese leaf hat. Photo courtesy of Phuc

Phuc gives Ronaldo a Vietnamese leaf hat. Photo courtesy of Phuc

Despite putting a lot of effort into the present, Phuc found the paint on the hat had faded two hours before the departure. His sister had to race to the airport to retouch it, just in time for Phuc to be the last passenger to get on board.

After arriving in Saudi Arabia, Phuc got the chance to watch Ronaldo training with his fellow teammates at Al Nassr football club.

“It was a strange feeling, since it was a private training session and nobody was allowed to record anything,” he said, adding that the players’ children were training in a separate corner of the same stadium.

“Ronaldo is like a spiritual leader of Al Nassr,” Phuc said.

“He moved around, trained with every small group, and encouraged his teammates.”

After Ronaldo completed training, Phuc and a companion of his were allowed to meet and talk to Ronaldo for a few minutes.

“I was trembling. Meeting him and having him sign for me felt like a dream,” he said.

Ronaldo signs on Phuc’s shirt. Photo courtesy of Phuc

Ronaldo signs on Phuc’s shirt. Photo courtesy of Phuc

The freestyler reportedly had a dream of meeting Ronaldo in person after watching the Portuguese star playing for Manchester United in 2003.

“It took me around 20 years to fulfill that dream,” he said.

Phuc said his encounter with Ronaldo was unforgettable as he was so nervous while talking to Ronaldo that the worldwide star could not hear what he was saying.

“I told Ronaldo that the leaf hat I gave him was painted by my younger sister, who was also a fan of him,” Phuc said.

“I wanted to tell him so much, but I was so nervous that I talked at a quick speed. In the end, Ronaldo said he could not figure out what I was talking about.”

He said being able to meet the Portuguese footballer and give him a special gift from Vietnam was beyond his wildest imagination.

The football fan said he would practice hard to compete in international championships again, and through doing that, travel to many places, meet many celebrities, and promote Vietnamese culture to his international friends,

Phuc, 34, started working as a freestyle footballer in 2007. He has won many domestic and international prizes.

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