A DREAM came true for a schoolboy at the weekend after a plea to see his football heroes in Italy went viral.

Max Donaghey, from Houston, had received the birthday gift of a lifetime when his parents bought him tickets to watch sporting giants Inter Milan in action.

But his joy was short-lived, as the Italian football authorities then ordered Inter to play Saturday’s game at home to Sassuolo behind closed doors following a series of racist chants at a previous match against Napoli.

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Desperate to find a way for 12-year-old Max to see the action, parents Ross and Charmaine took to social media to issue an urgent plea to Inter’s fans.

And according to our sister title The Gazette, supporters responded in their droves as the story went viral in Italy, with national newspaper La Gazetta dello Sport urging the Serie A club to take action.

The Italian Government also got involved, with Marco Bussetti, Minister of Education, stepping in to help make Max’s dream a reality.

Arrangements were made for Max and his parents to attend the match at the famous San Siro stadium, along with 11,000 Italian school pupils who were allowed in.

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“It was just fabulous,” Ross told The Gazette. “We were so warmly welcomed by everyone from the moment we got there.

“Basically, to get round the ban, they made Max an Italian schoolchild for the day and even announced it all in a speech before the game.

“Max just loved it all and couldn’t wipe the smile off his face the whole time.

Max and Ross in Milan

“As well as the newspapers, we appeared on national Italian TV. Max was a wee bit overwhelmed with it all but it was incredible.

“When we were walking through the streets of Milan, a couple of people even came up to us because they recognised Max.

“The most important thing is that he got to go to the game and had a brilliant time.”

While the match may not have been everything they had hoped for – ending in a 0-0 draw – Ross insists it hasn’t put Max off returning to the San Siro in the future.

He added: “Max is now talking about wanting to go back to see a proper game.

“We’ve received so many messages and made so many contacts that we can’t wait to go back."