On Thursday, November 11, Cristiano Ronaldo led Portugal to the Republic of Ireland to play a World Cup qualification game, and an Irish girl, Addison Whelan almost stole the show.
The Ireland vs Portugal game was a very close game which ended in a disappointing 0-0 draw for both sides.
At the end of the game, Addison Whelan, an 11-year-old Irish female footballer who plays for Shelbourne’s Under-13s jumped the barricades and tried to find his way to Ronaldo.
The security operatives at the stadium tried to stop her from getting close to Ronaldo. But Addison Whelan persistently screamed Ronaldo’s name until she got the footballer’s attention.
When Ronaldo turned and saw that the security operatives were trying to stop the girl, he asked them to allow her while Ronaldo walked up to her to ask her what the problem was.
Addison Whelan told the 36-year-old Portuguese football icon that she is his “huge fan” and wanted his jersey. The Manchester United forward removed his jersey and handed it over to her. The girl also got a hug of a lifetime.
“When my dad saw him taking off the shirt, my dad’s face was just in shock”, she said.
“I was like ‘Oh my God, this is it, this is my dream, it’s finally coming true. That was probably his last time playing in Ireland.
“He [Ronaldo] said I appreciate that and everything.”
After the incident at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Whelan told FM104 that the Irish FA fined her £2,500 for going against the security protocol of the stadium.
She noted that her father who was at the stadium with her when she ran to the pitch for Ronaldo’s jersey would pay the fine. She also noted that her father would not mind if anyone decides to take up the responsibility of paying up the fine.
Addison Whelan said: “I was fined for running onto the pitch. My dad’s going to pay for it…
“I jumped over the barrier because I was in the second row. I jumped over the first row and the barrier.
“Then I sprinted onto the pitch, but security guards were running behind me and there were another two coming from the other corner so I just kept sprinting.
“When I saw the other two coming from the other corner I ran more towards the halfway line so then I could swerve around them, but then they caught me.”
Cristiano Ronaldo gave his shirt to a young Republic of Ireland fan who ran on the pitch after the final whistle last night… 🥺 pic.twitter.com/BqM5xMWr72— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) November 12, 2021
Portugal’s 0-0 draw with Ireland has not affected Ronaldo’s chance of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup which could be the last of his football career. Portugal are still topping Group A with 17 points in 7 games, equal points with second-placed Serbia.
Portugal are expected to beat Serbia or play a goalless draw with the country tonight, November 14, at 20:45 to guarantee their spot in the forthcoming World Cup.