November 16 2009

Ruud van Nistelrooy visits SOS Children's Village in Spain

16/11/2009 – Dutch football icon Ruud van Nistelrooy visited the SOS Children's Village El Escorial in Madrid last week, together with his wife Leontien. Van Nistelrooy has been an ambassador for SOS Children's Villages for ten years and was overjoyed to have the time to visit. Van Nistelrooy, who plays for Real Madrid, is currently the second-highest goalscorer in Champions League history and three-time Champions League top scorer.

Photo: Joris Lugtigheid
Ruud and Leontien van Nistelrooy enjoyed the personal contact they had with the children - Photo: J. Lugtigheid

The children of  the SOS Children's Village El Escorial near Madrid couldn't believe their luck as they stood eye to eye with Real Madrid striker Ruud van Nistelrooy. Van Nistelrooy has been an ambassador for SOS Children's Villages The Netherlands for ten years and was very excited about the visit: "My first introduction to the work of SOS Children's Villages took place in 1998 in Bucarest when we played there with the Dutch national youth football team. This time, however, I had time to walk around the village and talk with the children and their SOS mothers. It felt very special to hear their personal, mostly difficult and gripping, stories and see the loving environment they now live in".

Photo: Joris Lugtigheid
These football shoes will likely never be worn - Photo: J. Lugtigheid

Van Nistelrooy was accompanied by his wife Leontien, who is also involved with SOS Children's Villages: "The concept of SOS Children's Villages appeals to us because we believe in the strength that having a family gives children. We know from personal experience what an important role giving children a feeling of belonging and warmth plays in their later lifes. That's something we try to give our own children".

Photo: Joris Lugtigheid
This young boy goes head to head with one of the greatest in the game - Photo: J. Lugtigheid

Ruud and Leontien van Nistelrooy had a traditional lunch in the home of one of the SOS families in El Escorial, where they met with little José, who was speechless when the football superstar entered his house. At first he didn't know what to say but after a while he was being chased around the house by Ruud and played a lot with him. After lunch all the children of the village got the opportunity to ask Ruud some questions, and even though he answered the question whether he liked football with a grin, saying "no, not really", he proved the opposite on the soccer field shortly afterwards, shooting penalties with the children.

SOS Children's Villages is honoured to count such an accomplished athlete among its friends and supporters and hopes to be able to welcome the charming couple again soon.