Mahia Macías is a seven-year old Uruguayan girl who dreams of going far in the world of football. A few months ago, she scored the winning goal in injury time for the boys' team, Nacional - which she was captaining - against another boys' team, and their eternal rival, Peñarol. This story of achievement and progress took place in Uruguay, but went viral around the world on both traditional and social media.
The score stood at 1-1 with just a few minutes of the game left to play. That day, Mahia was wearing the captain's armband. As the ball came into the area, she controlled it on her chest and scored with a lob over the goalkeeper, which made her front-page news. The first woman to score in a "derby" game. That winning goal in the Montevideo derby has led to one of her dreams finally coming true: travelling to Spain to meet the Uruguayan footballer Yamila Badell, her idol and favourite player in the women's game, with the support of Banco Santander.
Shortly before the match, this young female footballer joined the junior ranks of Club Nacional de Football in Montevideo, Uruguay: a team that does not have a girls' section in its youth set up. Right from the first few games for her new club, Mahia succeeded in breaking down barriers, demonstrating her outstanding qualities both on and off the field of play.
Banco Santander, sponsor of the UEFA Champions League, LaLiga Santander and CONMEBOL Libertadores, decided to do all it could to make one of Mahia's dreams a reality, by arranging for her to meet Yamila Badell, the Uruguayan footballer who plays for Club Deportivo Tacón in Madrid.
Mahia arrived in Madrid on Friday 1 March, accompanied by her parents and her brother. She said, “Coming to Madrid is a dream come true. I'm going to keep on practising a lot, because one day I want to be like her”. The seven-year old is also a fan of Cristiano Ronaldo, though she plays in Neymar boots. Cristiano's are still too big for her.
Yamila Badell's team, CD Tacón, have their training ground to the northeast of Madrid, and this is where Mahia and her family went last Saturday. The little girl's nerves were plain to see, though she soon forgot about them once she saw her idol, Yamila Badell, training with the rest of her team. Yamila did not hesitate in coming over and saying hello to Mahia. They shared a special moment together. They exchanged a few words and Badell offered to sign the football that the young girl was clutching between her hands.
On Sunday, Mahia and her family watched the game between CD Tacón and Atlético Féminas. Young Mahia's visit was full of surprises. Making the most of her time in Madrid, she had the opportunity to play for the CD Tacón children's team, go to the Santiago Bernabéu stadium and spend a few more days travelling round the Spanish capital.