Emirati boy Khalifa Ali Salem Al Mansoori was very happy with the visit of his favorite football player Cesar Azpilicueta.
Gulf Today, our reporter
Khalifa Ali Sey, a young Emirati boy, was being treated at a private hospital in Abu Dhabi when Chelsea FC captain Cesar Azpilicueta walked into his room and greeted him warmly. It was a dream come true for Ram Mansouri. Khalifa, a patient at Burjeel Medical City, was shocked by the unexpected arrival of the famous player. The avid football fan shared the legendary moment he hopes to witness Azpilicueta lift the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup in Abu Dhabi – postponed until February 2022 due to COVID-19. Unfortunately, his health issues prevented him from experiencing that iconic game.
Khalifa was hit by a car when he was four years old and was seriously injured. In the accident, Khalifa fractured his spine and pelvis and damaged his hip. At the Paley Middle East Clinic in Bergil Medical City, he recently underwent surgery to reshape his damaged hip and lengthen his femur. The Emirati boy, who is undergoing intensive physiotherapy in hospital to regain mobility in his hip and knee, was delighted to interact with the football star.
Azpilicueta, who is in the UAE with his family, learned of Khalifa’s story through hospital authorities and wanted to surprise him with a visit. The inspiring encounters filled the hospital corridors with smiles, laughter, and new hope for patients and their families.
“Meeting Azpilicueta was a dream come true for me. As a football fan, I never thought I would meet him in person, especially while I was in the hospital. I congratulated him yesterday on Spain’s victory over Team Italy. His kind words gave me morale for my recovery journey,” enthused the 11-year-old.
Amid cheers from the Chelsea captain’s visit, Khalifa put the pain aside for a moment.
The international footballer spoke to Khalifa about his own injury and how he recovered to continue his sport through patience and rehabilitation.
“I’m here after a year in the UAE and it’s nice to meet you, Khalifa. Stay brave and follow the doctor’s instructions. I want to watch you play in the future,” Azpilicueta told his young fans .
Before the meeting ended, Azpilicueta asked Khalifa who his favorite player was, and the boy said “it’s you” without a second thought, capping off the session on a happy note.
Azpilicueta smiles as he scores a goal for the patient.
The visit of the Spanish international brought joy and hope to many fans receiving treatment in Bergil Medical City. He also addressed patients and hospital staff in the facility’s atrium area.
‘I am enjoying the warmth of the UAE people’
The player also praised the UAE’s efforts in promoting the sport globally. Azpilicueta said he was delighted to see several young players coming out of the region and hoped the country’s efforts could have a big impact on the international sporting scene. “My family and I are regular visitors to the UAE. This time I came with my wife. I am enjoying the warmth of the country. It is also good to see the country’s leadership taking inspiring steps to promote sports.”
‘Prioritizing Mental Health’
During the interaction, Azpilicueta talked about the importance of exercise to promote physical and mental health. He also highlighted the importance of mental health and mental health, which are critical to overall health and wellbeing.
The Chelsea captain left cheering autographs among the other sick.
“I want you to see that being strong and brave doesn’t mean you’re perfect or invincible. We, as athletes, face challenges, setbacks, and doubts. In times like these, I’m reminded that prioritizing our mental health not only helps us Unlocking our full potential as footballers also fosters our overall sense of well-being. We keep pushing ourselves because we believe in our abilities and our dreams,” he added.
He also visited the Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Facility in Burjeel Medical City to learn about the latest medical technology and equipment used to treat sports injuries.
“We are very grateful to Cesar Azpilicueta for visiting Burjeel Medical City and spending quality time with Khalifa and others. His kind gesture lifted their spirits and motivated them to stay positive,” said CEO of Burjeel Holdings, the parent company of Burjeel Medical City John Sunil said.
Azpilicueta has been part of Chelsea Football Club since August 2012 and has been captain of the club since 2019. He is the most capped non-English player for the London club. Azpilicueta won all the club trophies at Chelsea, including the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup, Club World Cup and Europa League.