To mark the 10th anniversary of a charitable partnership between Spanish club Villarreal and Scottish champions Celtic, a special match was held at El Madrigal. And for one player in particular, it was an unforgettable experience.
Villarreal called in a new member of the squad for the match — a 13-year-old living with cancer named Gohan. The video above documents Gohan's experience, which began with meeting his teammates in the dressing room and being shown to his personalized locker. After changing into his kit, it was time to take the field for warm-ups, followed by leading his team out for the introductions.
Wearing No. 12, Gohan received the opening kick and led Villarreal up the pitch with a series of passes before evading defenders to go one-v-one against Celtic goalkeeper Lukasz Zaluska. Gohan drew Zaluska off his line and toyed with him a bit before pulling out some fancy dribbling and scoring with a tidy backheel. Gohan's teammates lifted him up on their shoulders to celebrate and he was then substituted to a big ovation.
Villarreal won the match 4-2 and back in the dressing room, Gohan was given the captain's armband.
CelticFC.net explains how the partnership began:
When 8,000 Hoops fans travelled to the coastal Spanish town in April 2004 to see their team take on the local side in the quarter finals of the UEFA Cup, little did they know that their good will and friendliness would leave a legacy that has lasted for 10 years and is still going strong.
Former Villarreal player, Ernesto Boixader, had not long lost his son to cancer when the Bhoys fans arrived in town but was so taken back by the good nature of the Celtic travelling support that he attended the game and started work on the now famous Submari Celtic Supporters’ Club.
A decade later and that same club is now on the brink of raising 150,000 Euros which will fund a research project that could improve the lives of young cancer sufferers throughout Spain, all on the back of that one night of football.
And that's how you make good use of an international break.
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