Borussia Dortmund and their fans were not the only ones who enjoyed an unforgettable night at the Santiago Bernabéu on Tuesday, with the MasterCard Player Escorts being given a unique opportunity to taste the UEFA Champions League semi-final atmosphere.
Our photographers tracked the youngsters from the moment they entered the famous home of Real Madrid CF. The escorts picked up their Respect-branded gear, supplied by official UEFA Champions League partner MasterCard, in their own special dressing room before coming out into the tunnel to be paired with their player for the night. While the players steadied themselves in preparation for the semi-final second leg, the youngsters' presence helped ease some of the tension until stars and escorts walked out onto the hallowed turf together.
Ahead of the kick-off, the mascots and their players lined up on the pitch together. This important symbolic act represents the importance of young people to the future of football; the players' positions as role models; and the importance of Respect – the slogan on all the escorts' shirts. As kick-off approached, the youngsters returned to the sidelines to watch the action, and maybe dream of playing at such a magnificent event one day themselves.
MasterCard is now running a pan-European competition to give five children the chance to accompany the teams onto the pitch as official player mascots at the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League final at Wembley, with return flights to London and two nights' accommodation included.
To give your child the opportunity of a once-in-a-lifetime experience, 'like' the MasterCard Witness History Facebook page and fill out an application, explaining why your kid deserves this priceless adventure. Once you have completed the registration, you will be invited to share it on your Facebook wall. You can then encourage friends to click on the link on your wall and vote for your child to be selected; the 20 children with the most votes before the 10 May deadline will be shortlisted, with a panel of judges then choosing the five lucky winners.
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