Budding footballers from Wellington have shared the limelight with their famous Real Madrid idols in a packed Spanish stadium.
As VIP guests the Wellington High School group had front row seats for the elite level game.
When the players from Real Madrid and SD Eibar took the field on October 2 the status of the Australian visitors firmed as they became the focus of the media spotlight.
The Wellington group were at the stadium as guests of the Real Madrid Foundation, a branch of the world-famous Real Madrid Football Club.
The match was part of a momentous 11-day tour, the culmination of more than a year’s work for the students.
In 2015 the school was the first in Australia to accept a partnership with the foundation.
Known internationally as the charitable face of Real Madrid, it encourages education through sport and all ambassadors of the program display qualities associated with companionship and respect.
Students and coaches worked tirelessly after the program began in July 2015, and their first trip to Spain started on September 29.
The match involving some of the world game’s superstars was a VIP experience for the Wellington group of 30 from start to finish.
They had escorted bus entry, front row seats in a stadium with a capacity of 86,000, all-you-can-eat food and drink, and professional photographers and videographers following their every move, coach-coordinator Brooke George reported.
“Our VIP status was firmly established when the players took the field. . . and all media still had their cameras firmly pointed at the proud Wellington High School staff, students and delegates in the stands,” Mrs George said.
“We were a small group of 30, however we waved our flags and cheered with passion.
“Although the game ended in a draw the atmosphere was electric with a capacity crowd and this is an experience many of us will never forget.”
Year 10 student Aidan Carr said it was a thrilling match even though the game was a draw.
He enjoyed watching Gareth Bale’s flair and commitment and was happy to see him score Real Madrid’s only goal for the match.
He was also especially excited to visit the VIP rooms and meet the players after the game as he took a lot of photos and autographs to add to his collection.
Year 8 student Ella Gregory said watching the game was an unbelievable opportunity and classmate CJ Wheatley also revelled in the opportunity to get the autographs of some of his favourite players.
The tour also included a guided visit to Madrid, games against other Social Sports Schools, a visit to the imperial city of Toledo and more.