Cristiano Ronaldo has played alongside some of the greatest players in the world during his career – but his latest knockabout was a rather heartwarming one.
Ali Turganbekov was born without legs but that has not prevented him from developing his passion for football as he continues to remain physically active.
And the 12 year-old boy from Nur Sultan in Kazakhstan could not contain his excitement when he got the chance to knock the ball around with his idol in Dubai.
Ali has 158,000 followers on Instagram where he has been photographed alongside other greats of the game such as former Barcelona star Xavi and Real Madrid legend Iker Casillas.
But he could not contain the thrill of meeting Ronaldo, chucking the ball to the Portuguese moments after he had walked through the door before engaging in a series of games of keepy uppies.
After the first short game, Ali goes over to Ronaldo to embrace him in the most heartwarming aspect of the video which also sees the Juventus star take photos with the boy and signing the ball they are playing with.
On Instagram, Ali describes himself as a ‘unique optimist’. He plays in goal and has developed impressive handling and heading skills, which are immediately evident throughout the video.
The meeting with Ronaldo, set up by Russian Mixed Martial Arts champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, is not the first time young Ali has met one of his sporting heroes.
In March, he was introduced to Andriy Shevchenko and Manchester City’s Oleksandr Zinchenko after inviting 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 the side thanks to the help of 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 over Chelsea.
And Nurmagomedov thanked Ronaldo for the gesture on his Instagram by saying: ‘That’s why you the best in the world. Thank you so much. You make my brother happy’.
Ronaldo is currently on a winter break in the Emirates and spent the week in Dubai where he was named the men’s player of the year at the Dubai Globe Soccer Awards.