Zlatan Ibrahimovic surprised Thai soccer team rescued from cave on 'Ellen'

Tanya Simon
October 16, 2018

The Thai soccer team whose escape from a waterlogged cave transfixed the world appeared on the U.S. talk show "Ellen" on Monday, where they had a surprise meeting with their hero soccer player Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

One of the boys added that it was only when they tried to emerge after an hour exploring the cave that they saw the water had risen too high and they wouldn't be able to get out.

"They weren't scared, and they always had hope", Chantawong, 25, told the host.

They said they realised how many days had passed because one of the boys had a watch which stated the time and date. "They knew that if they didn't come out, eventually someone would have to come in and get them out". They drank water trickling down from the top of the cave to stay hydrated. The boys elaborated later that they didn't celebrate their birthdays while they were in the cave.

The rescue efforts were extensive and risky (one Thai navy SEAL lost his life), with it taking eight hours to get each person out.

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Just moments after the team named Ibrahimovic their idol, the LA Galaxy star made his entrance, putting a smile on their faces and leaving them speechless. The team members "don't remember anything" about the rescues.

After the young men described the experience, they were surprised by Ibrahimovic who offered them LA Galaxy gear and declared that the team was even braver than him.

'They all want a good education and have good jobs and be professional soccer players so they can take care of their families, ' the translator explained.

Ibrahimovic then gave away LA Galaxy merchandise and invited the team to a special training session with the rest of his teammates.

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