Giggs thanks fans for fundraising initiative
Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs has recorded a video message for one Zagreb-based fan and the city. In the video, Giggs, who is currently manager of the Wales National Football Team, congratulates young Ante Perković, aged 15, for trying to raise money for a Zagreb children's hospital which was damaged recently in the earthquake.
Ante met Ryan Giggs when the former United left-winger visited the city in 2016. He was lucky enough to get a signed football from Ryan. But, Ante had recently joined a money-raising effort for the children's hospital in Petrova street and put his beloved ball up for auction. Such a selfless initiative captured the hearts of football fans around Croatia. Fans bid in the auction and paid 187 thousand kuna (£22, 000) for the ball, but on the condition that it should be returned to Ante.
The fundraising initiative was started several weeks ago by fans of Dinamo Zagreb football club (Dinamo to smo mi). It was their fans who were among the first responders at the Petrova hospital following the earthquake, where they helped evacuate the youngest children from the maternity ward. This section of the hospital and much of its equipment had been seriously damaged.
The money-raising scheme Vratimo Palčiće u Petrovu now has a popular Facebook page. Football fans from all over Croatia have put partisan support aside in order to join the initiative and help out. Football shirts - many signed, rare or vintage - plus footballs and other memorabilia have been donated from across the country. Some international supporters groups have also contributed towards the scheme, including from Scotland, Sweden and Canada, as have some famous Croatian footballers like Barcelona's Ivan Rakitić, Andrej Kramarić, Mario Mandžukić and manager of the Croatian National Football Team, Zlatko Dalić. It has so far raised 2.5 million kuna of its intended 4 million kuna total.