A night to remember for Lions skipper Hariss Harun
It is not often that Lions captain Hariss Harun finds himself star-struck but, on Sunday, inside Johor Darul Ta'zim's (JDT) changing room at the Larkin Stadium, the 28-year-old had to pinch himself.
Seated next to former Inter Milan and World Cup-winning Italian defender Marco Materazzi, Hariss watched and laughed as Dutch legend Edgar Davids was on the end of dressing room banter.
Around him were the likes of Robert Pires, Florent Malouda, David Trezeguet and Gianluca Zambrotta.
When he stepped out onto the pitch later for the all-star charity match, Hariss, along with centre-back partner Materazzi, was tasked with stopping Rivaldo, Bebeto and Claudio Caniggia. The Brazilian pair are World Cup winners while the Argentinian reached the final in 1990.
A visibly pleased Hariss told The New Paper after the match, which ended 9-5 to his team: "The memories from today will be with me forever. It was a great honour to have shared pitch time with these players.
"Even before that, when I was in the dressing room and looking at them in person, I couldn't believe that I was going to be playing with and against players like them.
" To be honest, I was very nervous."
But nerves were put to the side when Hariss came on in the 15th minute.
And he was straight into the thick of the action, intercepting a pass from former Manchester United forward Louis Saha.
Minutes later, he chased down Rivaldo and marshalled the Brazilian away from goal.
Hariss also shared that watching Davids and French midfielder Claude Makelele battle it out in midfield was his highlight of the night.
The football stars of yesteryear may belong to different generations - Hariss is at his peak, while most of his opponents and teammates are retired.
But the Singaporean will cherish the day forever.
"Today was really for the greater good and raising money for charity, so I am happy to have played a part in that," said Hariss, who is also JDT's captain.
"On a personal note, I can only be grateful for the opportunity to be involved in a match like this.
"I enjoyed myself out there and I don't think I can forget this night." - DEEPANRAJ GANESAN