Sarah Arcand had it made: On vacation from Canada, great seats behind the net at the Bernabeu for Real Madrid vs. Sevilla, and look there, it's Cristiano Ronaldo taking a penalty, right in front of her.
Except that Ronaldo skied the spot kick badly, and all Arcand ended up with was a black eye when the ball took out her camera and knocked her around some - "an excellent memory from one of the best," she wrote on YouTube. "What are the chances :). Wish I coulda kept the ball."
We caught up with Arcand, a music teacher in York Region, Monday afternoon. Turns out the game was the culmination of a "trip of a lifetime, three years in the planning" for her, her husband and their two boys, and included seeing Barcelona play at the Camp Nou the week before. The day before Real Madrid-Sevilla, they received their seat assignment: Row 12, right behind the goal -- "a fantastic environment," she says.
"The whole family's a soccer family so this was always going to be part of the trip. We sat in the upper bowl (for Barcelona), so we wanted lower bowl to see the players up close, their footwork, and it turned out all the action pretty much happened at our end. Ronaldo, Bale and Benzema all scored in front of us, and in the first half, Sevilla had a penalty and it was stopped."
When it came time for the fateful moment, "it was almost too perfect," she said. "I was a little bit worried actually - I'm right there, but everyone is saying you'll be fine. Then oh, he didn't hit it well ... Everyone here in Canada wants to know if I got the ball. Soccer doesn't work that way."
The cellphone survived, "after being reclaimed from two rows over."
What she got out of it was a most unusual souvenir.
"Oh yeah, the shiner - that was something to walk around with the rest of the trip," she said with a laugh. "It's almost better now - it's getting there."