Israeli President Shimon Peres met on Thursday with the players of the Real Madrid soccer team.
Peres, who was the special guest of team President Florentine Perez, observed the team members during practice. Afterwards, Coach Jose Mourinho introduced Peres to the players who shook his hand excitedly.
The President thanked coach Mourinho for his involvement and personal contribution to promoting soccer schools for Jewish and Arab children. The coach and all the players gathered for a group picture with Peres, after which the captain of the team gave the president a Real Madrid shirt with the number 1 and Peres’ name on it.
“I came from Israel to praise you and tell you that Israeli children admire you, as do millions of other children around the world,” Peres told the players. “You are an example and a role model for them and you are also the best peace ambassadors. Sports are the best way to promote peace, equality and brotherhood between peoples.”
The President added that “sports remove the boundaries between states, between religions and between rivals. On the field everyone is equal. Contrary to the battlefield, on the playing field the competition is without bloodshed and hatred.”
Peres invited the team president, coach Mourinho and all the players in Real Madrid for a visit to Israel as his special guests, in order to promote showcase soccer games between Israeli and Arab children.