14-year-old from Kerala to get training at Real Madrid
From begging outside a temple to training at Real Madrid. Fairytales do come true.
What's the story?
Manikandan, a 14-year-old lad from Kollam, Kerala is all set to receive a one-month training camp at Real Madrid, report Manorama news.
He gained the chance to fly off to Madrid, and the home of the champions of Europe (and the World, for that matter), by impressing the foreign trainers at an I-league camp (for juniors), getting there through the Chennai Professional + football academy.
In case you didn't know
Rescued as a child from the streets of the famous Oachira temple in Kollam, where he and his sister were found begging for a living by the Child Protective Services he grew up in the Government Children's Home off Beach Road, Kollam and it was there that the officials running the home recognized the lad's talent with a ball at his feet - and carefully honed it over the seven years he's been there.
The heart of the matter
Manikandan, who plays a central defender, wants to push himself at Madrid - and take full advantage of the massive opportunity that he's got.
"The coach and superintendent [at the Children's Home] have given us good practice. Eight of us went from here (Kollam) to Chennai for the camp and two got selected. I'm one of those two," said Manikandan.
Oh, and his favourite footballer? Lionel Messi. Ah, to have the innocence of youth, eh?
All we can do at the moment is parrot the line that comes with hearing such brilliant stories. Let's hope Manikandan and the other lads who do get such chances seize it with both hands and make the very best of it.
From begging on the streets to training with Real Madrid - need any more reasons as to why football is called the beautiful game?
We at Sportskeeda wish the young lad all the very best in Madrid, and further into the future.