Kerala boy, Shahzad Muhammed Rafi qualified in an online talent hunt to meet Brazilian football star Neymar. He was one among hundreds of entries from all over the world. The talent show was organized by Red Bull, the energy drink company. Shahzad is based in Kuwait but his roots are from Kerala and he has been handpicked as one of the seven freestyle footballers in the show.
From India, two were qualified and will play alongside Brazilian superstar Neymar Jr in a global five-a-side event to be held in Qatar. The 17-year-old boy who made Kerala proud hails from Pazhayangadi, Kannur. Abhinash Shanmugam, hailing from Bengaluru is the other Indian to achieve this reward.
The PSG player Neymar was one among the panel of the committee to decide the winners. The selection was based on keenly observing 60-second clips of footballing skills submitted by contestants on Instagram.
Shahzad participated in the 2020 edition of the championship, but he was not qualified at the national level. Despite the loss, he was not ready to give up and he was very optimistic as he tried it again this year. Shahzad said that he is eagerly waiting to meet and play alongside Neymar Jr. He is also a fan of Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo. The upcoming event with Neymar Jr is expected to be held in December or early next year.