A 13-year-old Irish boy died Saturday after trying to save two girls who were drowning in a lake.
Friends and family described Ricky Osagie, of Warrenstown, as a soccer sensation whose dream was to play on the international level. His club manager said he was “better than Messi.”
Without hesitation Osagie leapt into a man-made pond at a residential complex around 6:15 p.m. Friday to save two teen girls who were drowning. He died at Temple Street Children’s Hospital early Saturday.
The two girls are in stable condition.
“He was trying to help someone else,” his father Kelly Osagie told the Irish Sunday Mirror. "That’s what happened. My son died a hero. He went in and then that was it. My son is gone but a girl is alive because of him.”
"He always smiled and was happy all the time,” his father added. “He had so many friends. He is a hero, a real hero. I want the world to know what my son did. He was a man.”
“He was such a fantastic footballer,” his father said. “We have trophies everywhere in the house. Ricky was going to play for Ireland, that’s what he said he was going to do.”
Ricky played for Corduff FC. His former manager Patrick Burke said the teen would have gone far.
“He lit up the place,” Burke said. “He was the best footballer I’ve seen in all my years of coaching.”
“He was going to be better than Messi,” he said. “There is no question about it. He loved the game and he was different class to other lads who have come up through the years. Left foot, right foot, he’d dance through the opposition. He was special and it’s all gone in a second.”
His aunt Omolgui Bridget, who lives in Nigeria, says she hasn’t stopped crying since she heard the news.
“What a life and a wicked world of evil,” she wrote on Facebook. “I won’t forget about you my dearly beloved nephew.”