Ronaldo delivers dream to Middlemount schoolboy
SCHOOLBOY Patrick Slater's love affair with the beautiful game scaled new heights last week, after training with and meeting Portuguese superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.
The Middlemount Community School Year 6 student won the trip of a lifetime, to kick a ball around with Spanish giants Real Madrid.
The prize included flights to Melbourne, a training session with Real Madrid on July 21, staying to watch the Real Madrid squad train, tickets to the Manchester City v AS Roma match at the MCG, accommodation at the Crown and flights home.
Eleven-year-old Patrick, along with his father and Manchester United tragic Rob, made the trip to Melbourne after entering in the competition for the most passionate soccer supporter.
The family travels about 150km for games and 70km just for training, and with the help of friend Mia Blades, compiled a video demonstrating their passion for the game and reasons why they should win.
"They rang us, and I actually missed the call - I remember wondering why a Victorian number would be calling me," Rob said.
"I was on the phone in the bedroom and Patrick came in a started jumping up and down and yelling.
"His mother screamed, elation is the right word, I think.
"We spoke about all of our experiences around the world, we have been to Wembley Stadium, Old Trafford, but this is nothing like this.
"It was just so great to see the players and play with them. Being one of only 10 families in Australia was really amazing, we left so privileged and just very lucky."
In Patrick's eyes, Ronaldo is without doubt the greatest player in the game, so it was an indescribable thrill for the Dysart Devils striker, who regularly studies the way his hero plays.
"It was amazing, he is the best player in the world and I got to train with him," Patrick said.
"He told me that we have a similar build and play similar positions.
"He explained that he had to work really hard to build muscle and that I should do the same.
"If I work really hard, then anything is possible - that's what he told me.
"The training session really helped my game already."
Ronaldo and his Madrid teammates, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Keylor Navas were all present and at no stage acted as if it was a chore, said Rob.
They spent the whole time focused on the kids and showing their love of the game.
"The players were true gentlemen - they were a credit to themselves and their club. They were just fantastic," Rob said.
"They were incredibly humble trying to pass the love of the game to the kids.
"They would do tricks just for the joy of it, they would roll over and let the kids score against them, they just had fun with all of us."
The Madrid stars ran four or five drills before having a couple of games.
All of the goals in the mock game were scored by the students.
Rob, who is also the principal at his son's school, informed his students that just because they lived far out in the country, did not necessarily mean they had no chance.
Cristiano Ronaldo currently plays for superstar outfit Real Madrid and is captain of the Portuguese national team.
His career highlights include winning the Ballon D'or and winning the UEFA Champions League.
He has scored more than 400 goals for club and country.