On Saturday night Magnus Carlsen performed the kick off for the football match Real Madrid vs. Real Valladolid. The Norwegian chess player, who became World Champion last week, was wearing a Real Madrid shirt with 'Magnus' on his back. The home team won the match 4-0 with three goals by Gareth Bale.
"It was super cool, it was great for a football fan," said Carlsen to the Norwegian newspaper VG in the Santiago Bernabeu stadium in Madrid, late Saturday night. "I had planned to stay home and relax, but this was something I could not say no to."
It was the perfect birthday gift for Carlsen, who turned 23 on Saturday, eight days after winning the chess crown. A big Real Madrid fan, Carlsen was personally invited by Florentino Perez, President of Real Madrid. For the eyes of about 70,000 spectators, Carlsen kicked off the match, applauded by players and also the referee. Xabi Alonso gave Carlsen a " high five " when he left the grass carpet.
It's common for football matches in La Liga to be kicked off by celebrities. In the video below, the commentators clearly have no idea who the celebrity is, but maybe they will next time!
Carlsen met with big names such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane and Gareth Bale, who scored three times in the match. "I talked a bit with Xabi Alonso and he was very impressed with what I've been doing. I 've been a big fan of him for long, so that was good, said Carlsen to VG. Asked whether some of the players play chess, Carlsen said: "I do not know, and it's hard to say. The referee played chess!"