Fans thrilled to catch glimpse of Ronaldo and Co after long wait
Italian giants Juventus were the last to arrive in Singapore for the International Champions Cup (ICC) and they reached fashionably late, but in definite style.
They were expected to land at 9am on Saturday (July 20), but touched down only two hours later due to delays, leaving about 500 fans waiting in anticipation at the Swissotel The Stamford.
With the 33-deg C weather and unforgiving humidity, fans gathered were in mixed emotions, especially the 100 fans who waited outside the hotel. Swissotel staff helped by handing out cups of water to keep them hydrated.
Some fans stayed eager throughout the long wait, like the 20 members from Juventus Fan Club Indonesia, while some grew restless.
The Indonesians, who flew in from Jakarta for the ICC, started cheer battles between opposing sides of the barricades to lift the atmosphere.
Overzealous fans screamed in excitement upon seeing a tour bus at about 10am, but the crowd collectively broke into laughter as the bus drove past filled with Indian tourists.
The majority had waited over four hours for the Old Lady but, as soon as the bus cruised in, the crowd still mustered a vociferous welcome that overpowered the hotel blasting Storia Di Un Grande Amore, Juventus’ theme song.
Fan club member Reza Aries, 32, who led a few chants, was contented with the few seconds he had to see stars Cristiano Ronaldo, Emre Can and new coach Maurizio Sarri.
“We love Juventus. This is my third time seeing them but I am always so excited each time. I don’t mind waiting for them at all,” he said in Bahasa.
Ronaldo did not stop to sign autographs but winked and waved at the crowd as he entered the hotel. Others such as Federico Bernardeschi, Merih Demiral and Wojciech Szczesny obliged fans by signing autographs and posing for photographs.
The latter also had a quick interaction with a Thai fan, Beam Saranya, 32, who flew in from Bangkok just to give him a gift of soap.
“Szczesny is very nice and I am a fan of him since (he played for) Arsenal. I can’t watch the game tomorrow because of work so I flew in just to welcome him and give him the Jasmine and Orchid soap,” she said, adding that she will be flying back home on Saturday night.
New signing Matthijs de Ligt, Gonzalo Higuain, Gianluigi Buffon and three others headed to a meet-and-greet session at Resorts World Sentosa from the airport, but joined up with their teammates at Swissotel just 20 minutes later.
Others in the crowd include tourists such as American Trey Teter, 21, who is here on holiday, but decided to join the wait, after realising that Ronaldo will be passing by.
“I wasn’t expecting Ronaldo to walk in so fast but it was still pretty cool to see him. I came for my younger brother, who is back home in Texas, because he’s a Ronaldo fan, but I’ve never done anything like this,” he said.
When asked if his brother would appreciate the short video, he said: “I sure hope so. Actually, he'd better after a two-and-a-half hour wait.”
Manchester United face Inter Milan in the Singapore leg of the ICC at the National Stadium, while Juventus take on Tottenham Hotspur at the same venue on Sunday.