Manchester City stars spread Christmas cheer to hundreds of youngsters during their annual visit to the Royal Manchester Children’s hospital on Friday.
Led by manager Pep Guardiola and captain Vincent Kompany, the team arrived bearing presents and saw first-hand how the hospital provides specialist healthcare for young people across the north west and beyond.
Guardiola then called upon defenders Pablo Zabaleta and John Stones to help him organise a tournament in hospital’s ‘teen zone’ for City-mad youngsters.
Commenting on City’s visit, Guardiola said: ‘Today, the team has come together to see the life-changing work the hospital and its staff are doing every day right here in Manchester – it’s a very special place.
‘The kids were so happy and to see the smiles on their faces was fantastic. We are part of this city and if we can help them for a short time, then it’s an honour.
‘A big thank you to the people from the hospital, they are the real heroes. As the manager of Manchester City, thank you so much.’
Sarah Naismith, Head of Charity at Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity commented: ‘We are incredibly thankful to the club, Pep and players for taking the time to come and visit our patients, really helping to sprinkle some festive cheer.’
Ahead of the visit, the players pledged their personal support to the hospital by committing to fund the refurbishment of the Harrington Building, home to the hospital’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.
The visit comes as part of City’s long-standing relationship with the hospital. This season, patients took part in Manchester City’s official team photo and on Wednesday, the club invited staff, families and carers from the hospital for a ‘night off’ experience for the win over Watford.
The hospital charity will hold a bucket collection at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday 26 February.