Palestinian arson attack victim to meet idol Cristiano Ronaldo
A Palestinian boy who was the sole survivor of an arson attack by Jewish settlers on his family home is on his way to Spain to meet his Real Madrid idol, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Five-year old Ahmad Dawabsha, along with his uncle and grandparents, crossed the border into Jordan on Tuesday night amid much fanfare from Palestinian officials.
Dawabsha spent the last eight months recuperating in an Israeli hospital. He suffered severe burns which affected his mobility.
A picture of him wearing a Real Madrid shirt as he lay on his hospital bed inspired Palestinians to campaign on social media to convince the team to meet Ahmad.
Reakl Madrid agreed to the request in January, and preparations have been set since.
Nasr Dawabsha, his uncle, said: “The trip will take over three days, with Ahmad set to meet Ronaldo on the 18th of this month. After that Ahmad will return to continue his treatment at the hospital.”
Ahmad will be received by the Real Madrid football club and will meet Ronaldo at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
“Ahmad supports Real Madrid and he always wants to wear Cristiano Ronaldo’s number 7 shirt,” Hussein said. “Once, they brought him a football with Barcelona’s slogan, but he immediately painted it white.”
In January, the Portuguese met with a three-year-old Lebanese child, Haider, whose parents were killed after a twin suicide attack in the Burj al-Barajneh area of Beirut last November.
The head of the Palestine football federation, Jibril Rajoub, said he would like to thank current Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane for his help in setting up the meeting
Ahmad's home in his West Bank village of Douma was firebombed by settlers in July of last year.
His 18-month-old brother Ali was burned to death, and father Saad died a week later from his injuries. Riham, Ahmad's mother, died a month after that.
Ahmad's grandfather Hussein previously told Middle East Eye of the difficulty in telling the little boy what happened to his parents and baby brother.
“The doctors said it is best to tell him now, when we have psychologists on call here at the hospital, but they also said he is not going to understand what to be dead actually means,” Hussein said.