Local lad Sam teams up with football heroes Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez on dream trip

Sam pictured with Barcelona forward Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez

A Tayside youngster managed to rub shoulders with footballing royalty during a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Barcelona.

Thirteen-year-old Sam Lough, a Perth High School pupil from Scone, met and chatted with global superstar Lionel Messi as part of a break organised by a charity.

Sam, who is now on the road to recovery after battling non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a type of cancer, also met other players including Luis Suarez, Andres Inesta and Gerard Pique during the trip.

Samuel and Messi at Camp Nou.

Sam previously had a large tumour in his pevlis and underwent chemotherapy to get rid of it.

He still gets checked out once a month at Perth Royal Infirmary or Ninewells Hospital but is now well enough to play football again.

Prior to taking ill, he was selected for a Scottish Football Association elite development programme.

Then came the news he would have to undergo treatment.

However, the youngster battled back from this blow and was able to get back to the programme, playing for a Perth and Kinross team in an Edinburgh tournament.

Sam plays on the left hand side of midfield and also turns out for the High School as well as Jeanfield 2004s.

His trip to meet the Barca greats came about through the Make A Wish Foundation.

Samuel and Suarez at Camp Nou.

His dad, Shaun, told the Tele: “When Sam was first diagnosed he spent three months in Edinburgh’s Sick Children’s Hospital and he has come on really well since then.

“He has built up his fitness and the Barcelona visit was a tremendous boost to him.

“We were in Barcelona for two days and Lionel Messi and the others spoke to Sam.

“They all signed an orange Barca training jersey which is one of Sam’s treasured possessions.”

The youngster also got a tour of the Spanish club’s famous Nou Camp stadium.

Shaun said it was a trip and experience the Manchester United supporter will never forget and meeting one of the world’s greats — a multiple world footballer of the year and record-breaking goalscorer — has aided his recovery.

The Make a Wish Foundation organises experiences for children who are fighting life-threatening conditions, aiming to make their wishes come true.

Often the charity’s work involves taking youngsters on trips overseas or helping them to meet celebrities — or even just giving their bedroom a makeover.

The UK charity was founded in 1986, when it granted just four wishes, but has now provided more than 11,000 experiences for children from its base in Camberley, Surrey.