Swedish footballer Kim Källström comforts eight-year-old boy, picture goes viral

There's a good reason why people are sharing this picture internationally

Felicity Morse
Friday 25 October 2013 10:37 BST

This picture of footballer Kim Källström has gone viral in Sweden and there’s a good reason why.

The Swedish midfielder was snapped comforting this eight-year-old boy before the Sweden v Germany World Cup qualifier earlier in October.

Max was one of 11 children with Williams syndrome who were mascots for the Swedish football team. The genetic disorder makes sufferers particularly anxious and sensitive to noise. After going out on the pitch Max became distressed.

At this point Källström abandoned his macho football persona and crouched down and comforted the eight-year-old.

Max’s father was so appreciative, he wrote to Kallstrom to thank him. He also published the letter on Facebook. It read: “I am writing to you because I’m not quite sure if you understand how much of a difference you’ve made to us. Tuesday saw my son Max do something very special, for other children, it’s really about 15 minutes of concentration and nervousness as well as an incredible joy of having been able to meet the national team.

"Because of your actions my son was able to experience exactly the same feelings as everyone else: pride, a sense of being special.

"Your decision to choose to support Max when he gets scared, you bend down and soothe him (even if it only helps for a short while) sends so many good messages for us and makes all the difference between success or a failure for Max."

Footballer Kim Kallstrom hugs a young mascot named Max

The letter was published by a Swedish newspaper. Källström responded by saying: “Of course I'm pleased that Max's dad appreciated what I did during the field entrance, but what's more gratifying is that, despite Max being a little nervous in the players' tunnel, together we were fortunately able to make it a very positive experience. In a situation like this I act more like neighbour and parent than as the footballer I just happen to be.”

Since the picture was posted on reddit three days ago, the story has struck a chord with fans internationally. It sounds like Källström is not just a good footballer, he’s also a really nice man.

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