Beaming in his full Mo Salah replica Liverpool kit, 11-year-old Louis Fowler could not have looked prouder to sport a suspected broken nose and two matching dark lines under his eyes.
It was barely even breakfast time on Monday morning and what had already been the craziest, most magical - and painful - weekend of his life was only getting stranger. This was the stuff of childhood dreams.
First, Fowler expertly fended off Good Morning Britain presenter Richard Madeley, who seemed to find it impossible to resist firing questions relentlessly at his young guest and cutting off answers as though grilling an errant politician. Then it was into the gentler hands of the Victoria Derbyshire Show’s eponymous host, where some motherly concern was shown for Fowler’s injuries.
The first thing to say is that he is fine (aside from that possible broken nose). But regardless, in his own bloodshot eyes any injuries sustained were totally worth it.
The incident in question had taken place a couple of days before his television appearances, when Fowler and his younger brother Isaac decided to see if they could grab a selfie with their favourite Liverpool players as they departed the Melwood training base.
Over the course of the school summer holidays they had already ticked off the likes of Jurgen Klopp, Virgil van Dijk, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Georginio Wijnaldum, so when Salah pulled out in his Bentley, it was straight into action.
With eyes fixated on his footballing hero, Fowler hared down the road in pursuit of the Egyptian, only to crash straight into a lamppost that had the temerity not to announce its appearance in front of him, sending him straight to the floor and knocking him unconscious in the process.
Concern was enough that an ambulance was called after he had been carried round the corner back to his house, but all worries were instantly forgotten when Salah suddenly pulled up outside to check whether Fowler had done any serious damage.
Cue what will surely be the most treasured - and undoubtedly most hilarious - photographs of the brothers’ young lives. Desperately attempting to savour the moment with his idol, Louis tries with all his might to stand strong with Salah’s arm around him, only for his pained expression and the blood pouring from his nose to betray his considerable distress. For Isaac, who just moments earlier had seen his older brother floored in a sickening blow, the unimaginable high following such a frightening low displays itself in something of a manic, tear-streaked hug.
“I was really happy to see Mo Salah, but at the same time my nose was in so much pain so it was kind of a sad-smile,” Fowler explained sweetly during one of his TV appearances.
Although unintentional on this occasion, there is no shortage of fans going to extreme lengths to catch a glimpse of their heroes or prove their devotion above all else.
Club crests are common tattoos in football stands worldwide, while one Indian Roger Federer obsessive has the tennis player’s signature inked on her forearm, the RF logo on her neck and delivers a ‘Love Box’ of messages to him before tournaments.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, she remains single because “it would be hard for anyone else to live up to [Federer’s] standards”.
One Telegraph colleague - who shamefully has not taken his loyalty to such levels of celibacy - admits he and a group of friends were so enamoured with then Crystal Palace goalkeeper Nigel Martyn when they were boys that they contrived to intentionally boot a football into his back garden and go en masse to ring his doorbell to retrieve it. The perfect crime.
Fowler’s (mis)fortune was not so orchestrated and unfortunately for the youngster, he may yet face an operation in the coming weeks to have his nose reset. But he will not give a moments’ thought before insisting it is a sacrifice he is happy to make for the best playground story ever.
“To be honest, I’m quite glad [it happened],” he admits. “It was worth it to meet Mo Salah.”