Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 17 January 2020

Dream Cristiano Ronaldo meeting for Kazakh fan born without legs

Ali Turganbekov, 12, meets his footballing hero in Dubai

Ali and Ronaldo pose for a photo after a knockabout in Dubai. Ali Turganbekov / Instagram
Ali and Ronaldo pose for a photo after a knockabout in Dubai. Ali Turganbekov / Instagram

A dream came true for a football-mad youngster who was born without legs when he met Cristiano Ronaldo in Dubai.

Ali Turganbekov, 12, knocked the ball around with the Juventus star, who spent the week in the city.

Ali, from Kazakhstan, has a huge social media following thanks to his stoic approach to life, including almost 100,000 followers on Instagram.

Having friends in high places can help achieve the ambitions out of reach for many boys his age.

Russian Mixed Martial Arts champion Khabib Nurmagomedov answered the call of his young friend by setting up the meeting with Ali’s footballing hero.

A short video captured the magical moment when the two met in Dubai.

“That’s why you the best in the world,” said Nurmagomedov on Twitter. “Thank you so much @cristiano You make my brother happy #Dubai."

Ronaldo was named the men’s player of the year at the Dubai Globe Soccer Awards on Sunday.

It is not the first time young Ali has met one of his sporting heroes.

In March, he was introduced to football legend Andriy Shevchenko and Manchester City's Oleksandr Zinchenko. They invited Ali to join the Ukrainian national team during a training session.

Ali travelled more than 4,000 kilometres from his home town to join in the knockabout with his heroes, thanks to Kazakhstan Premier League side FC Kairat.

He also handed out medals in Istanbul to Liverpool players after the team’s European Super Cup victory in August.

On Instagram, Ali describes himself as a "unique optimist". He plays in goal and has developed impressive handling and heading skills.

Updated: December 30, 2019 04:16 PM

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