Mansfield Town’s U11s did themselves and the club proud and gained enormous experience when they faced the likes of Real Madrid in the Copa Mallorca.
In their first taste of international football, the youngsters were up against it from the start as, due to the difference in the times of the academic years in Spain, they were forced to play a year down in an U12 tournament.
Nevertheless, they managed a win and two draws in their six group games and manager Jamie Waklin said: “It was an unbelievable experience from the build-up to the game against Real Madrid.
“The boys did Mansfield proud, playing a year up in an international tournament. It will be a memory that no one can ever take away from them.”
Despite the 8-0 scoreline, it was the game against Spanish giants Real Madrid that will live on in the players’ memories as they tested themselves against the best Real U12s.
“We had won our opening fixture Thursday night against hosts Pollença,” said Wakelin.
“Then myself and the boys arrived at the stadium for 9am ahead of our big game against Real Madrid.
“The boys were nervous but so excited and proud to be representing our local town’s football club.
“The night before we watched Madrid after our game and could see their quality shining through, as you would expect from a world class team.
“In the pre-match team talk I told the boys to relax and first of all enjoy this once in a lifetime opportunity which they did.”
He added: “Despite losing the game, they all played with a smile on their face and worked hard off the ball and the game was played in good team spirit from both sides.”
“Our captain Max Wakelin led us out and the teams were met by rapturous applause from all the on looking spectators.
“Madrid were a great side and without a doubt the pinnacle of this age category and the best I’ve ever seen at this age group.”