Zlatan Ibrahimovic surprises Thai soccer team on The Ellen Show

Football star Zlatan Ibrahimovic turned up on The Ellen De Generes Show to meet the 12 players and coach of the Thai football team Wild Boars who had been stranded in a cave

Football star Zlatan Ibrahimovic turned up on The Ellen De Generes Show to meet the 12 players and coach of the Thai football team Wild Boars who had been stranded in a cave

In their first in-studio interview on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" Monday, the rescued Thai soccer team and their coach Ekkapol Ake Chantawong (a.k.a Coach Ake) opened up about being trapped in Tham Luang caves for 18 days.

Through a Thai translator, Coach Ake explained how he taught the children to pray and meditate to remain calm and conserve energy as they waited to be rescued.

Ellen asked the team, who entered the cave on June 23, if they remembered anything from the risky rescue mission.

'The cave is usually a tourist attraction anyway so some of the boys have never been in so they made a decision to go in just to see what it is like, ' the translator said. They always had hope. "And they know that if they don't come out, eventually someone would have to come in and get them out".

"They showed their collective team work and had patience. believing in other hands also", Ibrahimovic said.

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The rescue efforts were extensive and risky (one Thai navy SEAL lost his life), with it taking eight hours to get each person out. Ake was the last member of the team to be saved, with everyone out on July 10.

They were buzzing just to be on the sofa but then when Ellen shouted their idol Zlatan to come out, their faces lit up completely. After presenting the team with pint-sized jerseys bearing her likeness, she introduced LA Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimović to the players.

"I thought I was fearless, but this team is braver than me", he said. He invited them to a private practice with his Galaxy teammates, while Ellen gave them all a VIP experience to a Los Angeles Football Club game.

Looking ahead, the Wild Boars players said they want to receive a good education and become professional soccer players to help take care of their families.

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