Gareth Bale’s injury sees him substituted with Ana Rueda Hernandez in the latest ad for UEFA Champions League sponsor Nissan.
Nissan – the official Global Automotive Sponsor of the UEFA Champions League – will feature Global Ambassador and Manchester City star, Sergio Agüero alongside Ana Rueda Hernandez, a student and part-time baker from Madrid.
The 24-year-old football-loving Spaniard was drafted in by Nissan to replace Real Madrid star Gareth Bale, who was unable to take part in the filming of the commercial due to the injury he sustained during Madrid’s fixture against Sporting Lisbon in the UEFA Champions League last November.
Ana was surprised by Gareth Bale in a video message inviting her to take his place on the shoot, alongside Sergio Agüero – a stark contrast to her day-to-day life spent studying, playing football for her local team Macheritas Sports Club and helping out in her mum’s bakery in Madrid.
Ana spoke of her shock upon receiving the message inviting her to take the place of her footballing hero: “I still don’t believe it – I am so excited this is happening to me.
“I have been playing football in the streets with my brothers since I was a child and now to be picked up as Gareth Bale’s substitute is incredible. Gareth is my favourite player anyway – I wish I had the same left leg!”
Gareth even surprised Ana whilst she was filming and expressed his delight that his substitute was a female player: “I think it’s an amazing idea, and to give people chances, experiences and journeys that they would probably never get to experience is amazing. I’m sure she’ll do great!”
Vice President for Marketing Nissan Europe, Jean-Pierre Diernaz, told fcbusiness: “It was a bit of a shock [to lose Bale] but very quickly we managed to turn it into a positive.
“We immediately got in touch with Gareth Bale and we asked what shall we do?
“Because of the injury and because of the complexity of the injury he could not take part in the commercials.
“Very quickly we got into the discussion about what we can do for a replacement. Our campaign is about the journey of a lifetime so we thought maybe we offer this to a fan that could potentially replace Bale.”
After a casting process, football fan Ana was selected for what is likely to be a journey of a lifetime for the girl from Madrid.
“It is only the beginning because at the moment people can ask a lot of questions about who’s Ana, where’s she come from and how she’s been selected?” added Jean-Pierre.
“We can start to populate the story that it was the original injury to Gareth Bale but then we had to choose someone else – and then all that buzz increases the impact that we would have had with Gareth Bale initially.”