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Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho ensured one young fan had a night to remember in Macedonia as he presented the youngster with his runners-up medal after the final whistle of the UEFA Super Cup Final.
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Adedeji Odumboni, eight, is a season-ticket holder at Old Trafford and he made the trip to Skopje with his father and older brother to see the Reds bid for a first piece of silverware of the 2017/18 campaign.
Despite United suffering a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid on Tuesday night, the youngster was ecstatic with his surprise gift from Mourinho.
Upon returning to England, Adedeji’s father, Ibrahim, spoke to us about their experience in Skopje and what it was like for his youngest son to receive Mourinho’s medal.
“At the end of the game the boys were disappointed that we didn’t win,” Ibrahim said. “We thought we’ve made this 16-hour journey to watch the match, we may as well watch the medal presentation and see the players on their lap of honour.
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“So we stayed to watch it and the next minute Jose was walking towards us – I didn’t know what he was going to do and then he stretched out to give the medal to him.
“He didn’t say anything – Jose just gave gave him a nod and Adedeji said thank you. It was a consolation for not winning the match, I guess. It was fantastic for the kid.
“It was quite unreal for Adedeji,” he added. “After there were quite a lot of people surrounding him and taking photos – it’s not what we’re used to. We’re used to just watching the game and going away quietly, but this time around we could not leave quietly!”
Ibrahim has been taking Adedeji to Old Trafford since he was just four-years-old, but this is the first season he and his brother, Adedire, have had season tickets of their own.
Ibrahim, Adedeji and Adedire’s journey from their Bristol home to Skopje took 16 hours in total, which included a flight from London Stansted to Sofia, and then a six-hour drive from the Bulgarian capital to Skopje.
The eight-year-old’s favourite United players are Ander Herrera, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba, and he is a promising footballer himself and even has a trial at Southampton next week.
“The whole family supports United, Adedeji’s an ever bigger fan than myself and he’s only eight,” Ibrahim continued. “But when I asked him about what getting the medal means, he was excited but said ‘I just want to win my first Ballon d’Or before I turn 20’.
“He doesn’t want to be known as ‘The Medal Boy’, no, he wants to be known for his himself, his football and his passion for Man United.
“He plays for AEK Boco’s Under-10s at the moment and he plays a lot like Herrera.”
There is no doubt Adedeji, his brother and his father are all eager for the 2017/18 Premier League season to get under way.
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