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Dublin: 12°C Friday 14 May 2021

Pic of the Day: Ruud van Nistelrooy goes to bizarre lengths to cheer patients

We wonder what Rio Ferdinand makes of this?

PICTURE THE SCENE: You are in a Spanish hospital after getting your appendix removed and Ruud van Nistelrooy shows up.

A nice pick-me-up for most sports fans no matter what your footballing allegiance is.

One minor issue – van Nistelrooy is dressed a wise man, his face is painted black and, frankly, he looks terrifying.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid striker paid a visit to a hospital in Spain dressed in the regalia of Balthazar, one of the three kings [or wise men].

Revelling in his good deeds today, van Nistelrooy tweeted this:

As part of a long-running tradition in Spain, children receive presents from one of the three kings [Reyes Magos] on the night of 5 January or the morning of 6 January.

They often arrive in town as part of a cavalcade with much fanfare – being conspicuous is not their biblical bag.

Many of van Nistelrooy’s followers on Twitter mistook the forward for Zwart Piet, a Dutch folk hero, but an earlier Tweet confirmed that he was visiting the Spanish hospital as Balthazar.

Zwart Piet [Black Pete] is a friend of jolly old St Nicholas, who delivers sweets and presents to lucky individuals living in The Netherlands.

American children in West Virginian hospitals relied on Patch Adams for in-patient entertainment. We hope his was funnier than Robin Williams portrayed him to be in the 1998 comedy.

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Patrick McCarry

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