Chapecoense's Alan Ruschel gets gift from Barcelona's Lionel Messi
Emotions ran high at the Camp Nou on Monday evening as Barcelona played host to Chapecoense in the Joan Gamper Trophy.
The match came just nine months after the Brazilian club lost 71 members of their squad and back-room staff in a tragic plane crash en route to Medellin Airport in Colombia.
The only three players to survive the disaster all made special appearances on the pitch in Barcelona, as Neto, Jackson Follman and Alan Ruschel performed a touching ceremonial kick-off.
Ruschel, who suffered severe spinal injuries in the crash, then went on to play the first 35 minutes of the friendly before exiting to a wonderful standing ovation from the 65,000 fans in attendance.
Alan Ruschel, survivor of the Chapecoense plane crash, receiving a standing ovation at the Nou Camp tonight pic.twitter.com/MlsYxjX7SX— Tomasz Mortimer (@TMortimerFtbl) August 7, 2017
Barca eventually emerged as 5-0 winners on the night, but the heavy scoreline didn't phase Ruschel in the slightest.
Indeed, the 25-year-old was positively glowing after the match after collecting a special souvenir from none other than Lionel Messi:
What a moment.— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) August 7, 2017
Lionel Messi swaps shirts with Chapecoense plane crash survivor Alan Ruschel. 👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/TzVt0fO1J0
Messi then signed Ruschel's Chape jersey with a personal message and returned it to the Brazilian defender, who couldn't help but pour his heart out in a postmatch Instagram post.
"True happiness comes from humility and from the recognition that we are only very little or almost nothing, and life is only complete with the real feeling of love for our neighbour," Ruschel wrote.
"I am grateful with all my heart for so many blessings, so many successive miracles in my life. The winner said: 'Let's live our dreams, we have so little time.'"
Wonderful. A little life lesson for us all.