President Peres meets President Perez

Peres was the guest of Real Madrid President Florentino Perez and was introduced to all the players.

February 25, 2011 07:00
1 minute read.
Real Madrid welcomes Shimonm Peres.

Peres with Real Madrid 311. (photo credit: Amos Ben Gersom/GPO.)

President Shimon Peres wound up his four-day visit to Spain on Thursday by watching a Real Madrid training session.

Peres was the guest of Real Madrid President Florentino Perez and was introduced to all the players – each of whom happily shook his hand – by coach Jose Mourinho.

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The first to do so was captain and goalie Iker Casillas.

Peres had a particularly warm handshake and congratulatory comment for Algerian-born Karim Benzema, who had scored the crucial goal in Real’s Champions League win in Lyon two days earlier.

Peres exchanged compliments and small talk with other players, asking them about their positions on the team or telling them how good they looked on the field, while they in turn told him what an honor it was to meet him face to face and shake his hand.

After the mandatory souvenir group photo with Peres, Casillas presented the Israeli President with a Real Madrid jersey with his name and the number 1 – more or less making him an honorary member of the club.

Peres has quite a collection of jerseys from his various trips abroad, as well as a number of autographed soccer balls or basketballs.

Peres told the members of the team what devoted fans they had among the youth of Israel, who – just like millions of youngsters all over the world – are completely enamored with them.

Calling the team “the best ambassadors of peace”, Peres praised them for setting an example worth following.

“Sport is the best way to advance peace, fraternity and equality, and it blurs the differences between countries, religions and adversaries” he said. “On the field, everyone is equal.”

Peres made the distinction between the battle field and the sports field, noting that the contest on the sports field is usually bloodless and free of hatred.

Peres invited the whole team, including Mourinho and Perez, to Israel as his personal guests.

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