There was a touching moment ahead of kick-off at the Spartak Stadium in Moscow today as Cristiano Ronaldo took to the pitch hand-in-hand with a ten-year-old wheelchair user.
Polina Haeredinova was accompanied by the reigning Best FIFA Men's Player ahead of Portugal's FIFA Confederations Cup match against hosts Russia.
The thrilled youngster secured this incredible experience through the 'Going to the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup with McDonald's' programme.
Afterwards, reflecting on her time with Ronaldo in front of this packed Moscow arena, Haeredinova said: “I couldn’t expect that it would be such a great experience. Cristiano Ronaldo was outstanding. He gave me his coat and kissed me for luck. I was in the centre of unbelievable emotions, supporting Russia. I’ve never experienced anything like this in my life."
FIFA's Marketing Services Director, Jean-Francois Pathy, added: "“The McDonald’s programme is one of many great initiatives where FIFA Commercial Affiliates take an active role in building the success of the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017. This opportunity to connect young fans with different backgrounds and life stories to football is unique. FIFA strives to enhance the experience for all involved in the game and the touching moment we witnessed today on the pitch was a perfect example."
The 'Going to the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup with McDonald's' programme, organised by the official sponsor of 2018 FIFA World Cup™ and 2017 Confederations Cup, has involved more than 350 children - around half of whom come from orphanages, foster care and low-income families - in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Kazan and in Sochi where Gera Aristova was the lucky youngster. A wheelchair user from each of the host cities will lead out one of the teams on 21 and 22 June.