It may not have been Cristiano Ronaldo’s night in Dublin, but he still left his mark in Ireland – much to the delight of an 11-year-old girl.
Addison Whelan, the young girl who invaded the Aviva Stadium pitch late on Thursday to see Cristiano Ronaldo, has revealed her shock and excitement at meeting her hero.
The 11-year-old Dublin girl jumped over the barrier and rushed onto the pitch in an attempt to meet Ronaldo after a World Cup qualifier between Ireland and Portugal ended in a 0-0 stalemate.
Stewards, who had already dealt with an adult pitch invader targeting CR7 during the match, immediately chased her.
However, Ronaldo proved his class by asking the stewards to leave Addison alone. He then greeted the young girl, gave her a hug and his shirt – to the shock of her own father.
Now a delighted young Addison, who plays football herself for the Shelbourne U-13s in Ireland, has described her meeting with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner.
He couldn't evade Shane Duffy and he couldn't evade this young girl, who will have the memento of Ronaldo's shirt after giving the Portugal star a hug
💻 https://t.co/gKUO2jcTtR #RTEsoccer #IRLPOR pic.twitter.com/l680nKNZIC
— RTÉ Soccer (@RTEsoccer) November 11, 2021
‘I was in shock and crying’
“There were security guards running behind me and coming from the other corner… I ran towards the halfway line, but then they caught me. I was screaming Ronaldo’s name,” she told RTE Radio.
“He [Ronaldo] turned around and saw me. He told them to leave me.”
“He came over to me. I was in shock and crying and I was like, ‘can I have your jersey, please? I am a huge fan’. He said OK.”
Addison added: “When he took off the shirt, my Dad’s face was just in shock.”
On her reaction to Ronaldo giving up his shirt, she said: “I was like ‘Oh my God, this is it, this is my dream and it’s finally coming true.’”
The security guards then escorted Addison back to her father, where they posed together for photos. Even a day later, she keeps the Portugal captain’s shirt by her side and hasn’t tried it on.
The 11-year-old also revealed she hopes to forge her own football career and play for Ireland or Arsenal.
— Shelbourne FC (@shelsfc) November 11, 2021