Meeting Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo will leave Greenisland Boys' rivals feeling green
The young footballers from Greenisland Boys are in for an extra special treat when they head to Spain next month.
They have known for over three months that they would be playing a friendly against Real Madrid as part of their trip to the Spanish capital in just over two week's time.
Now the level of excitement and anticipation has gone through the roof after Real superstar Cristiano Ronaldo agreed to pay the Greenisland players a visit during their weekend in Madrid.
Greenisland's Keith Norris, who has arranged the trip to Spain through personal contacts at Real Madrid, said: "I've been friendly with Cristiano since he moved to Real Madrid after being introduced by our mutual friend and Real Madrid physiotherapist Pedro Chueca in 2009.
"I was in Madrid for the match against Barcelona last weekend and spent half an hour with him and posed for pictures with the Greenisland pennants and has given an agreement to meet the kids when they are over next month.
"To say that the kids are excited would be an understatement."
Greenisland will be taking two groups of players to Madrid. Their under-10 and under-12 squads will be guests of the club at their La Liga match against Almeria at the Bernabeu. They will have a guided tour of the stadium, as well as Real's training base at Valdebebas.
They will also be a match against local Madrid club Las Rozas, where the Greenisland players will also hold their training sessions during the trip.
As well as a number of top Irish League players, including goalkeepers Sean O'Neill (Crusaders) and Connor Devlin (Cliftonville), Northern Ireland internationals Jonny Evans (Manchester United), Corry Evans (Blackburn Rovers) and Craig Cathcart (Blackpool) have all graduated from Greenisland Boys.
Meanwhile Real Madrid suffered a second successive defeat on Wednesday night, putting a dent in their hopes of winning the Primera Division title
Ronaldo put Madrid in front with a 15th minute free-kick after he had been fouled by Andujar Coke, but Sevilla replied almost immediately through Carlos Bacca and in the 72nd minute some superb skill from Ivan Rakitic set up Bacca for the second.
It was a record sixth straight win for Sevilla, lifting them up to fifth, six points behind Athletic Bilbao in fourth. That result allowed Atletico Madrid and Barcelona to pull clear in the title race.
Atletico lead the way on 73 points after Diego Costa's 63rd minute header was enough to give them all three points at home.
Barca are second on 72 points, with Madrid third on 70 after victories over Celta Vigo (3-0) and Granada (1-0) respectively.