When the final whistle blew in Spain’s victorious match against the Czech Republic at Malaga’s La Rosaleda stadium, the excitement was just too much for one young fan, who leaped onto the pitch to hug his idols and ask for their autographs. Thanks to the reaction of the players, who stopped the security staff from removing him when he was just metres away from them, his dream came true.
That lucky young boy is called Juanjo. He is ten years old, lives in Torremolinos, and football is his passion. In fact, he is the goalkeeper for a local youth team. When he jumped onto the pitch, he particularly wanted to talk to Unai Simón: he was given a hug, a few moments of conversation, and the goalkeeper’s signature on one of Juanjo’s gloves.
“He says he needs other gloves to play in because he won’t use these now, and he wants a display case for them in his room,” says his father, Juanjo Moreno. “By the time I realised what he was doing he was already halfway across the pitch. He had said he was going to do that during the week, but I didn’t think he meant it. But when he wants something, he goes all out to get it,” he says.
Juanjo junior couldn’t sleep for excitement that night and he couldn’t wait to go to school and show everyone the glove and the signed T-shirt they gave him. “He was over the moon,” says his father. After the event, the ten-year-old wished he had asked Unai Simón for his own gloves, and said he would ask him for them another time.
“In the car going home he told us he was a bit sad, because he thought of all the things he would have liked to have said to the players, but didn’t at the time,” his father says.
He is grateful to all the players for their kindness to his son, but especially to Sarabia, as it was he who asked the security guards not to make the boy leave the pitch.
“He’s a real fanatic now. He thinks about football all day, and plays whenever he can. This year he has been playing in the municipal schools because we haven’t had much time to take him for training and to compete, but after this summer we will have to take him to try for the Torremolinos club. To tell the truth, he is a really good goalkeeper,” says his father, proudly.