The soccer star was more than generous to a young Dublin girl who ran onto the field following Thursday night’s game against the Republic of Ireland
Sometimes risking it all pays off in a big way.
Addison Whelan, 11, received the gift of a lifetime from soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo on Thursday night after she ran onto the field following Portugal’s game against the Republic of Ireland in Dublin. The bespectacled youngster was caught on camera running up to the 36-year-old striker, considered one of the best players of all time, to give him a hug.
Ronaldo embraced the young Dublin girl and took off his jersey, handing it to her before she was whisked away by security.
In pictures following the incident, the young girl was all smiles while holding the jersey, which will surely be a prized possession for years to come.
According to The Irish Times, Whelan plays soccer and told the outlet she was able to evade security because of all the sprints training her coach makes her do.
“I was literally delighted. I couldn’t believe it because I didn’t think I’d make it,” she said.
Whelan said a security officer told her she was facing a large fine for breaking the rules to run onto the field, but the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) opted to waive it.
FAI media and football relations director Cathal Dervan told the outlet, “We want to assure Addison that of course she will not face any fine for running onto the pitch and asking for Ronaldo’s jersey.”
Still, Dervan reminded other fans that, “At all games fines are liable to be levied by Uefa in certain instances for entering the field of play, particularly when the game is ongoing and we urge all fans to respect this very sensible rule.”
Whelan told the outlet that she plans to frame the jersey and enjoyed the interaction with Ronaldo.
“It was just a second but I gave him a hug and told him I was a huge fan and he said he appreciated that and he gave me his jersey,” she recounted.
Earlier in the game, when a male fan ran onto the field, Ronaldo dodged the attempt to hug him and the attendee was quickly removed by security, according to Insider.
The World Cup Qualifying match between the two teams ended in a 0-0 draw.
Despite the disruptions, things have been going well for Ronaldo.
In August, he announced he was returning to his old team, Manchester United, after spending time with Juventus. Ronaldo previously played with the club for six years from 2003 to 2009, winning three league titles and one Champions League.
The father of four then played for nine years for Real Madrid from 2009 to 2018. At the time, Ronaldo joined for a world-record fee.