Tom Kinstler said he "felt like crying" upon hearing the news he would be flying from South Africa to Berlin to meet his Juventus heroes and watch the UEFA Champions League final live.
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"I honestly only entered as I have a dream of seeing my team Juventus in the final of the Champions League," wrote 25-year-old Tom Kinstler – in hope rather than expectation. Little did he know that, just 48 hours later, he would be on a flight from Johannesburg to Berlin to fulfil that very dream.
It was certainly an outside shot. Applicants from around the world showboated their 'rabonas' and 'rubberlegging' with the ambition of impressing enough to win the ultimate UEFA Champions League final prize: two tickets to the final itself, two nights' accommodation and the chance to play with some of the greatest footballers of the past 15 years in the Ultimate Champions Match at the UEFA Champions Festival.
From 'round-the-worlds' to 'rainbow flicks', we were treated to some of the best skill shows out there, but no entrant caught the eye quite like Kinstler, whose shot-stopping and heartfelt story proved enough to convince the UEFA judging panel.
"Anyone can kick a ball into the net or run past an opponent," he explained, "but not everyone can stop a ball flying at 90km/h with split-second reactions." True that. Especially with the likes of Alessandro Del Piero and Christian Vieri thundering shots at you from all angles.
Kinstler could hardly contain his emotion when he got the call: "Absolutely unbelievable – I feel like crying!" A Juve fan since the age of seven, he will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet former Bianconeri stars like David Trezeguet, Fabio Cannavaro and Gianluca Zambrotta at the hotel pre-match, before travelling on the team bus to the Ultimate Champions Match. To cap things off, after watching Saturday's showpiece event at the Olympiastadion, he will get the chance to perform on the very same pitch in the following day's Fan Match.