Sweet strike from Nacho: From a 12-year old diabetic to World Cup goal-scorer

Spain defender Nacho scored Spain's third goal in the draw against Portugal but the 28-year old's career was almost over due to diabetes.

The four-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid scored his first goal for Spain against Portugal.   -  AFP

If Friday's match's spotlight was on Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo and his stunning hat-trick, his Real Madrid teammate, who was the at the other end in the Spanish jersey, was the player who was involved in two goals of the six-goal thriller.

His outstretched leg in the opening minutes of the match resulted in the fourth-minute penalty for Portugal, which Ronaldo duly converted. However, he made up for his mistake when he scored a stunning half-volley in the second half to help Spain take a 3-2 lead. 

Prior to the competition, not many expected the 28-year old to be named in Spain's starting XI despite his steady performances for Madrid. But an injury to club teammate Dani Carvajal and Nacho's adaptability to play as a a fullback gave Fernando Hierro an option at right back.

However, it was not an easy journey for the Mestella youth graduate when he found out that he was diabetic at the age of 12. It was just two years after joining Real Madrid's esteemed youth system that the doctors told Nacho that his footballing days were over. But that has not deterred the Madrid boy, who rose through the ranks of the 11-time Champions League winner, from playing his part in four titles.

"Of course it's difficult, because you have to take care of yourself three times more than a normal person, but in a roundabout way I think that also helps. You have to take greater care with your diet and the way you rest. It makes you more responsible because you always have to carry your equipment [insulin, monitor, etc]," he had told UEFA.com in a recent interview.

Though not always the first choice for the national team, Friday's vital goal against Portugal might be a turning point in his international career.

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