the story of Manolín and Cristiano
This is Manolín, a little madridista who went to see Madrid play during their visit to Málaga. The shirt he’s wearing here was given to him by none other than Cristiano Ronaldo, and off his very own back too. But getting the shirt was an entire history, and here it is, courtesy of Cuatro.
Real Madrid was warming up at La Rosaleda. Manolín was shouting at Cristiano, hoping to get his attention and a souvenir. He succeeded, and Cristiano pointed at him, indicating that his sweatshirt would be for him. Cris then walked to the stands and handed it over, but while Manolín was confirming it was for him, another kid snuck up and stole the sweatshirt before running away. Manolín began crying, and Cris saw all this happen from across the field.
Other kids were running onto the field to hug the players and get whatever they could get their hands on, with no one to stop them. Those around Manolín encouraged him to do the same. He decided to go for it. He made it to Cristiano, threw his arms around him, and explained to him what had happened. Cris returned the hug, patted him on the head and told him to go to the bench and stand next to the team doctor. When the warm-up concluded, Cris would give him the training shirt he was wearing.
Over at the bench, Manolín ran into one of Málaga’s security personnel. This man escorted him off the field and out of the stadium, as Manolín had run onto the field, which was not allowed, and did not have a ticket. Manolín began crying again. Meanwhile, the warm-up ended, and Cris asked the doctor what had happened to that boy. Cris then took off his shirt, and handed it over to the doctor, who then passed it to a Madrid security personnel with the instructions that it was to reach the boy.
After the game, the security personnel went to find Manolín. He told him to grab the shirt and run, because others would try and take it from him. Manolín did just that, while being chased by a number of other boys. The next day, while his story was being aired on Deportes Cuatro, he confirmed via Twitter that he had managed to make it home with the precious treasure (or actually, to the house of his grandmother, who lives near La Rosaleda), and even shared a photo. Look at that big smile! What a difference from the tears, no?
Cristiano has a reputation for being arrogant and egotistic, and there are some media outlets in Spain that live to perpetuate that myth. However, from what we have seen of him, the exact opposite is true. There’s not only this story, but many more, including another recent one of Cris generously offering to pay for a 60,000-euro operation for Erik, a 10-month-old boy suffering from cortical dysplasia. And the best part is, besides the boy no longer having seizures, is that no one would have known about this if the boy’s family hasn’t chosen to publicly thank Cris. In conclusion? Cris is not only handsome, rich and a great player, but also kind, caring and generous. And I’m so happy he’s part of my team.
Update: Manolín traveled to Madrid on Monday with his father to wait outside Valdebebas and get his shirt signed by Cristiano. When Cris arrived, he recognized Manolín (who introduced himself as “I’m the one from Málaga”), stopped his car and signed the shirt! I think the kid was in shock, because his father had to prompt him to say “thank you” to Cristiano for the shirt. The other madridistas waiting around the training grounds also recognized Manolín as the kid from Málaga, asked if the shirt he was wearing was that shirt, and requested photos with him. The media was interested in talking to him too, and he has appeared on various shows and programs. Watch Cuatro’s video here, and check out his Twitter feed here.