A day to never forget. Christopher Douvrin lived his dream on Monday, when he – as a special guest of FIFPro – had a meet and greet with the players of the FIFA FIFPro World XI during the FIFA Ballon d'Or in Zürich, Switzerland.
Predicting the FIFA FIFPro World XI is no easy task. Just ask those who took part in FIFPro's Facebook competition. Only a tiny percentage - 0.04% to be precise - managed to succeed and from that select group FIFPro selected one lucky individual to soak up the glory on a lavish all-expenses paid trip to meet the FIFA FIFPro World XI.
Christopher is a 19-year old football fan from Vitry-en-Artois, a small village in the north of France. He is a passionate season-ticket holder of Paris Saint-Germain, just like his uncle Pascal who accompanied him on this once-in-a-lifetime trip.
"This is incredible," Christopher said, clearly overwhelmed by the occasion. Who would not be searching for words after - within a span of ten minutes - both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo shook your hand, chatted with you and took the time to pose for photos?
Christopher met almost all players of the 2013 World XI. Unfortunately Andrés Iniesta was absent due to a knee injury, and both Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva could not attend the meet and greet as they were only allowed a very short leave from PSG's training camp, one day before Tuesday's league match against Girondins Bordeaux.
The remaining World XI members were there: Lionel Messi, Dani Alves, Sergio Ramos, Franck Ribéry, Manuel Neuer, Philipp Lahm, Xavi and Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo. Next to that, Neymar – as a nominee for the Puskás Award - dropped in to say hello to FIFPro and Christopher.
During the gala – broadcasted in 180 countries - Christopher also played a special role. As the FIFPro Facebook competition winner he had the opportunity to ask Franck Ribéry a question. He wondered if the French star of Bayern Munich would be willing to join PSG in the future. 'Ribéry – a former player of PSG's arch rivals Olympique Marseille - answered with a broad smile: "I prefer playing against them."
FIFPro wishes to thank all who participated in FIFPro's Facebook competition, which opened December 9 to coincide with the naming of a 55-man shortlist, and closed January 6.
Every year, since 2005, FIFPro, the worldwide representative for 65,000 professional footballers, coordinates its member unions across the globe to oversee the voting process in their respective countries.
Dani Alves believes the World XI sets itself apart from other awards as it is truly representative of the players, "The importance of being chosen by other players is the fact that you have been selected by people who know what they are talking about – people who know how difficult football is, how hard it is to compete and to win in a world where everyone plays and plays so well."
Well, Christopher Douvrin is one smart young man who proved he too could think like a player.