McDonald’s Maltese Player Escort walks hand-in-hand with Spanish player Puyol

Six-year-old football fan Christina Higgans never imagined that she would set foot on the pitch during the final match in Johannesburg with her favorite team, let alone holding hands with Carles Puyol.

Christina was the winner of the McDonald’s Player Escort program in Malta. She won this once-in-a lifetime opportunity to fly to South Africa with 14,000 other children from 46 countries who walked on the pitch with their football heroes.

Christina left for this incredible journey with her father Christopher Higgans. She surprised her family back home who were all eagerly waiting to see which team and player she will be accompanying before the Span-Netherlands final match on June 11.

Christina explained how on Sunday she had butterflies in her stomach all day long. She was really elated when the World Cup and Cannavaro walking past her! The wait in the tunnel made her a little nervous however when Puyol held her hand, she instantly felt at ease because she recognized him as a player from her favourite team.

She started walking to the entrance of the pitch and could feel her heart pound faster by the second. “I could not believe I was actually there – fans where cheering their team, vuvuzelas were making the loudest noise, photographers taking loads of photos and the stadium looked so big. I really enjoyed it!,” said Christina Higgans.

During the 4 days spent in South Africa, Christina had the time of her life. Christina had the opportunity to explore the culture of South Africa by visiting Rhino and Lion Park and Lesedi Cultural Village and also make friends with children from other countries and receive unexpected gifts.

“Her face lights up each time she speaks about this experience and to be honest I am delighted too that I had the opportunity to be there with my child. The celebration atmosphere in the stadium when Spain rose the Cup was indescribable. I still have goose bumps when I remember. This whole experience was a dream come true and everything from the side of McDonalds was so organized. Thanks to Mcdonald’s we got to experience this once-in-a- Lifetime opportunity that I have till now only ever dreamt of seeing let alone being part of”, said Christopher Higgens, father of Christina.

The last time Malta took part in the Player Escort program two years ago, Jean Borg was the lucky winner and he was chosen to be the escort with the Spanish and Liverpool star Fernando Torres. Malta could be Spain's lucky charm as Jean and Christina both gave the Spanish the luck to win the European and World Championship.