Students from Elm Wood Primary came along to the City Football Academy for what they thought was a normal lesson with City in the Community (CITC), before the City star made a surprise entrance.
Rodrigo was able to take part in a short Q&A session with the youngsters, before enjoying a cupcake decorating session as part of CITC’s birthday celebrations!
Commenting on the visit, Rodrigo said: “I think it’s really important for us to have contact with the kids in Manchester and today was a wonderful experience.
“On behalf of all the players, we’d like to wish City in the Community a very happy 35th birthday – we’re proud of everything you do.”
CITC announced the start of its 35th anniversary celebrations earlier this month, which is bookended with matchday takeovers, including City's Premier League game against Crystal Palace on Saturday, October 30.
Since its inception in 1986, Manchester City’s Official Foundation has been empowering better lives through football across Greater Manchester.
Reaching thousands of people each season, CITC continues to deliver award-winning programmes with health, education and inclusion benefits.
Ryan Bostock, School Sports Officer at CITC, added: “Today has had a really positive impact on the children today.
“Rodrigo is very passionate about education, and it was great to see him talk the children about the importance of school and who his role models were growing up – that is inspirational for our youngsters.
“As staff, we’re all very proud of CITC and how far it’s come in the last 35 years. We see first hand the difference our programmes make and the charity is just importance today as ever!”
The surprise appearance was arranged within a Premier League Primary Star’s (PLSP) session.
CITC delivers the PLPS programme in schools across Greater Manchester.
The aim is to use the inspiration of Manchester City and the Premier League to engage pupils and teachers to lead healthier, more active lifestyles.
The programme also intends to improve teacher's confidence and competence when delivering PE and School Sport, and to increase children's enjoyment and engagement in this area.
In its 35th year, CITC is also committed to supporting positive mental health amongst young people in Manchester via our new programme, City Thrive.
Every penny raised in the month of October will go towards supporting this programme, which was developed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to help provide support for thousands of people aged 14 to 25.
In Manchester, the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on children’s mental health was highlighted as a major concern amongst carers and parents.
To help tackle this, a dedicated team has developed a new mental health curriculum, blending specially adapted football sessions with one-to-one mentoring and group workshops on mental health awareness, to improve mental wellbeing.
Look out for information on our special Prize Draw, which is supporting the City Thrive project, very soon.