Arkaitz, a seven-year-old boy with autism, had a dream come true when he visited the Santiago Bernabéu stadium and met the Real Madrid players and president Florentino Pérez. The club invited him and his family to to enjoy a special tour of the facilities, as a way of showing their support and solidarity after he was harassed and insulted by some Barcelona fans at El Clásico on October 28th.
The incident occurred at the Montjuïc stadium, where Arkaitz went with his father and his brother to watch the game between Barcelona and Real Madrid. He was wearing a Real Madrid scarf, which provoked the ire of a group of about 20 or 25 people, who surrounded him and started to hurl abuse at him. They called him “pig, dog, son of a bitch” and threatened to burn his scarf. They also threw firecrackers at his feet, causing him great distress and fear.
The father of the boy, who tried to protect him and calm him down, denounced the situation to the media, hoping to raise awareness about the lack of respect and tolerance that some people show towards others, especially towards children with special needs. He also expressed his disappointment with the security staff of the stadium, who did not intervene to stop the aggression.
The story reached the ears of Real Madrid, who decided to contact the family and offer them a gesture of kindness and recognition. They invited them to the Bernabéu, where they were welcomed by Florentino Pérez, who gave them a personalized jersey with the name of Arkaitz and the number 7, the same as his idol Karim Benzema. They also had the opportunity to meet all the players of the squad, who signed the shirt and posed for photos with the boy and his relatives. They also gave him hugs, words of encouragement and gifts.
The family was delighted with the experience, which they described as “the best day of his life” and “a memory that we will keep for life”. They thanked Real Madrid and Florentino Pérez for their “detail” and their “humanity”. They also hoped that this gesture would serve as an example for other clubs and fans to show more respect and empathy towards people with different abilities and preferences.
Back in El Clasico. An autistic boy was surrounded by Barcelona fans and harassed for wearing a Real Madrid scarf. Now, every single Real Madrid player has signed his shirt and he and his family have been given pitch access. pic.twitter.com/h9HwqWe6wT
— Managing Madrid (@managingmadrid) November 13, 2023
Real Madrid once again their commitment to social causes and their values of solidarity and sportsmanship. They also demonstrated their support for one of their most loyal and brave fans, who did not let the abuse he suffered dampen his passion and love for the club. Arkaitz, who has a smile that melts hearts, will always have a place in the history and the heart of Real Madrid.