SINGAPORE - He took a deep breath and puffed up his cheeks.
Just moments earlier, Juventus die-hard fan Ritesh Angural (above, left) experienced a moment to remember.
He had just awarded Andrea Pirlo the Man-of-the-Match award, after the Italian helped his team dismantle a Singapore Selection side 5-0 at the National Stadium yesterday.
"I think Nisha, my girlfriend, caught that moment on camera," said Ritesh.
"That was my 'what the hell just happened?' face.
"I tried to speak a few words of Italian and thank Pirlo for coming to Singapore, but I must have mixed up the words or the Google translation was off, because he looked confused. But, after a while, he replied 'grazie' ('thank you' in Italian)."
The 27-year-old got the opportunity after he won the "The Best A Fan Can Get" football experience presented by The New Paper and Gillette. On Friday, he had attended the Serie A champions' open training session and autograph session.
But, while handing Juventus midfield maestro Pirlo the award ranks as the high point of Ritesh's experience, the evening wasn't over for him.
After the game, the software engineer was whisked away to Fullerton Hotel, where the players are staying, for a post-match VIP cocktail function where he met the likes of Fernando Llorente, Paul Pogba and Claudio Marchisio.
Said Ritesh: "I'm surprised that the players are so friendly. For example, I spoke to Marchisio and asked him to sign an extra-large signature on a jersey I specifically got printed with his name, and he smiled and did just that.
"Seriously, I have to say a big 'thank you' to Gillette. If I had to describe this whole experience in one word, it would be 'unbelievable'."
P&G brand communications manager Shu Qi Fu said: "For over 110 years, it has been the promise of Gillette to help men look and feel great by delivering 'The Best A Man Can Get'.
"Always striving to be ahead of the game, we are thrilled to be able to bring this philosophy of life and offer Ritesh a unique and truly unforgettable experience of a lifetime - The Best A Fan Can Get!"
This article was first published on August 17, 2014.
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