Page last updated at 14:51 GMT, Wednesday, 22 July 2009 15:51 UK

Bolivian boy sets football record

Mauricio Baldivieso (19.7.09)
Mauricio Baldivieso needed treatment after a nasty foul

A Bolivian boy has reason to celebrate his 13th birthday on Wednesday - he has become South America's youngest ever professional footballer.

Mauricio Baldivieso made his debut on Sunday for first division team Aurora where his father is the club coach.

Aurora lost 1-0 against La Paz FC, and Mauricio suffered a foul which led to angry scenes between the two sides.

Nevertheless, he told reporters at the end of the game that he was "the happiest man in the world".

Football pundits say Mauricio's debut at the age of 12 easily beat the previous record of Fernando Garcia of Peru who played his first competitive match in 2001 a month shy of his 14th birthday.


Mauricio Baldivieso: "I am the most happy man in the world"

Mauricio's father, former international player Julio "Emperor" Cesar Baldivieso, brought his son on with nine minutes of the match remaining and Aurora a goal down.

Despite his tender years, La Paz showed him no quarter and Mauricio was soon crumpled by a scything challenge which left him in tears.

Players from both sides squared up to one another in an angry confrontation and the youngster need five minutes' treatment at the side of the pitch.

Papa told me that I would make my debut if we were winning, but things went another way and I still got to play
Mauricio Baldivieso

But fans gave Mauricio a standing ovation when he returned to the field for the final four minutes.

His father - who played in the 1994 World Cup - was furious at the foul but said of his son: "I am very proud, he's got a lot of talent."

Mauricio, who wore the number 10 shirt, the same as his father, was elated when he left the field.

"A million thanks to everyone," he said. "I am the happiest man in the world."

He said he had felt relaxed because he had the support of his team-mates.

"Papa told me that I would make my debut if we were winning, but things went another way and I still got to play," he said.

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