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He thought that somebody was having a joke with him. When Valdrit Pllana (from Turku, Finland) was informed by FIFPro that he was the winner of the Predict the FIFA FIFPro World XI competition, he couldn't believe it was true. This Monday in Zurich, standing next to his favorite player, he knew it was all true.

Valdrit won FIFPro's prediction competition, in which 77,000 people worldwide participated. Apparently it was far from easy to predict all players that were chosen in the World XI by their peers, all professional footballers worldwide. Only two participants guessed the eleven names correctly. Valdrit was the lucky one as the draw indicated him to be the prize winner of this year's competition.

That meant, he would meet and greet all players in the 2014 FIFA FIFPro World XI in Zurich. He could bring a friend or a relative too. And as a bonus, Valdrit would make an appearance in the FIFA Ballon d'Or show, asking a question to one of the World XI players on stage.

"My friends at school did not believe me when I informed them", Valdrit remembered. The 17-year old scholar also had a tough time convincing his best friend Ahmed Rahim Nohair Al-Shafei, whom he had invited to be his companion on the trip to Switzerland. "He wanted to see the ticket first, then he would believe me."

That all changed instantly when FIFPro published Valdrit's name on Facebook and confirmed he was the winner of the contest. "Finally they all believed me."

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Click on the pictures for a full photo report on FIFPro Flickr

Valdrit will always remember Monday January 12 2015. The World XI Meet and Greet kicked off with a blast as the first player stepping in the room was Lionel Messi, Valdrit's favorite player. "I thought I was dreaming, but I realized it was real when I felt Messi's arm wrapped around my back for the photo. It was great!", Valdrit said. Then smiling: "I will never wash this suit again, because Messi touched it."

Messi was one of eight players putting their arm around Valdrit's waist: Andrés Iniesta, Toni Kroos, Philipp Lahm, Arjen Robben, Ángel Di Maria, Sergio Ramos and Cristiano Ronaldo all stood shoulder to shoulder with Valdrit and his friend.

Unfortunately Manuel Neuer could not make it due to a flight delay, while Brazil's Thiago Silva and David Luiz were not allowed to attend the ceremony by their club Paris Saint-Germain.

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Click on the pictures for a full photo report on FIFPro Flickr

To cap off the memorable day, Valdrit appeared during the Ballon d'Or show. With hundreds of millions of football fans in 180 countries worldwide watching, he asked the three World XI strikers (Arjen Robben, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo) about their most satisfying goal. "I was a bit nervous, because I knew how many people were watching. But luckily it went well."

His performance did not go unnoticed. When Valdrit switched on his mobile phone after the gala, he received countless friend invitations on his social media account, while the number of followers on his Instagram account exploded. And of course, press were calling. From Finland and Albania, the country where his parents were born.

"I had a fantastic day, the World XI Meet and Greet was great", Valdrit said. "I hope I can win the competition again next year, because I definitely want to come back ... "

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