23 March 2010
Lidia Blanco & Diego Jabalquinto / Translation by Michael J. O'Donnell
Zersenay Tadese is a fervent Real Madrid supporter ever since he visited Spain in 2001. The honours earned by Eritrean athlete are amazing: four World Cup titles in the half marathon, a 2004 Olympic Bronze and a cross country world title. On Tuesday, Tadese made a dream come true by meeting the entire Real Madrid squad and idol Zinedine Zidane.
Tadese arrived at Valdebebas with friend and training partner Yonas Kifle early in the morning. He watched the team train and told us his "favourite players are Raul, Cristiano and Mahamadou Diarra." The athlete had his picture taken with the captain and got his autograph as he came out of the dressing room after the session. In a reversal of roles, it was Pepe who asked Tadese for his autograph, as he was greatly impressed by his world record.
The athlete met Real Madrid legend Zinedine Zidane and enjoyed talking to him for several minutes. "I follow Real Madrid wherever I may be," he told us, adding he watched the Real Madrid-Sporting match in Lisbon, right after setting a new world record for the half marathon.
Tadese is currently training for the 25 April London Marathon, running 250 km a week on average. He even humorously challenged Cristiano Ronaldo saying "we can race whenever you want," invitation that was graciously declined by the Portuguese player knowing how fast the runner is.