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Members of Barça Academy in Lauderhill send message of support to Anthony. | FCB

Anthony Borges, who played at the new Barça Academy in Fort Lauderdale, for two months in 2016, Florida, has received a club shirt signed by the first team players this week. And it’s a gesture that he most certainly deserves. For the 15-year-old of Venezuelan origin is a true hero.

He goes to Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, the scene of tragedy this week when a former pupil shot dead 14 students and three staff members and injured several others.

Anthony received five bullet shots in the back and limbs as he helped 20 classmates to take refuge in one of the rooms while holding the door – and thanks to his gallantry the death toll, horrific as it already is, was not much higher.

Barcelona dream

Now in hospital recovering, one of Anthony’s greatest dreams has always been to travel to Barcelona and meet the first team players. And as the club told his father Royer on the phone this week, it would be more than happy to help with that.

It was journalist Santiago Segurola who set things in motion. He informed the club of the situation, and Barça immediately offered the support of its own medical services to help ensure that Anthony gets all the surgery he needs to get back to enjoying one of his greatest passions, playing soccer, as soon as possible.

The image of Anthony in hospital hand-in-hand with Sheriff Scott Israel went viral on social networks, and drew the attention of the Barça players, who expressed their best wishes on an official first team jersey and sent it his way.

Crowdfunding

Royer Borges has opened a crowdfunding site on go.fund.me to raise money for his son’s medical expenses and the response has been wonderful. He has already received half a million dollars and Barça is helping by offering its own media to get the message out.

“I want to thank everyone for their donations to the go.fund.me site” he said. “Because my son needs time to recover and it’s well known that medical bills are very high. I need help, and for people to give us a bit of money so we can be a bit calmer.”

Barça Academy in Fort Lauderdale

The Barça Academy in Fort Lauderdale, the first to open in country in 2014, was proud to hear about Anthony’s heroic deeds, and sent a message of sport encouraging him to stay strong.

The academy is currently working with 159 boys and girls of different ages on its site at Central Broward Regional Park.

Royer Borges: “I thank Barça for all its help”

Antony’s father said that “I thank Barça for all its support and for going to all this trouble to help cheer up my son. I understand that the club’s doctors also helped with his recovery.”

“As a family, we are grateful. Not just for the family, but for many people, a child’s joy is the biggest thing.  When you see your child is happy, nothing else matters. The cost or effort involved is insignificant next to seeing your son happy.”

“He never expected Barça to do this. Neither did I. When he was about to go in for surgery, by chance I heard the voicemail, because I couldn’t receive calls, and put the phone on loudspeaker so he could hear the message. He was smiling so much!”

He told his father that he had to get out of hospital quick because he wanted to go to Barcelona, and was worried that he might miss out on the opportunity!

“Anthony wanted to get up and go to Spain” continues his father. “That’s always been a dream for him. When we arrived here, we had nothing, we started from scratch. But we were able to put our boy where he wanted to be. He wanted to play for Barça, and it was one of the greatest joys for my wife and I to see him doing that. We put him in one of the schools here in Fort Lauderdale and it was a very exciting time for my lad”.

Anthony Borges has always been a great sportsman, and he loves soccer especially, and Barça.

“He sees Barça as the definition of soccer” says Royer. “He says the best players are all at Barça. Because of the way they see things, it’s the best team.”

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