With all the animosity in the streets of Brazil, the footballers participating in the World Cup seem to be trying extra hard to demonstrate their love for the fans — particularly those representing the divided host nation.
Before the tournament began, the players gathered around to listen to a 17-year-old fan with arthrogyposis tell his story. Neymar walked away with tears in his eyes and David Luiz later spent time with the boy, sitting on the ground with him as he did an impressive number of kick ups. A week later, Neymar stopped security guards from escorting an eight-year-old out of a training session for trying to get close to his heroes. The players all gathered around to take pictures with him as Neymar served as photographer. In the Spain camp, Gerard Pique literally gave a fan the shirt off his back.
Now, perhaps inspired by the growing list of others, a 12-year-old named Daniel Jr. (as his shirt says) made a mad dash for David Luiz and when he reached him — when he actually made it to one of the brightest stars of his national team — he broke down in tears and the curly haired defender wrapped him up in a hug.
After the hug, and then another one, Luiz took off his training top, autographed it and gave it to the kid, who was hyperventilating in disbelief.
The quality on the pitch in this World Cup has been absolutely brilliant, but the level of unity between fans and players off it has been great to see, as well.
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