Zlatan Ibrahimovic meets Thailand cave rescue boys on The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Members of the Thai youth soccer team meet their idol L.A. Galaxy’s Zlatan Ibrahimović on Ellen. More

They always had hope.

"They showed their collective team work and had patience. believing in other hands also", Ibrahimovic said.

The rescued Thai soccer team is speaking out.

'They chose to go in for just an hour but it took them longer than that'.

The rescue efforts were extensive and unsafe (one Thai navy SEAL lost his life), with it taking eight hours to get each person out.

They also revealed that they were forced to drink water that was dripping off stalactites because the water on the cave floor was dirty.

Asked about their fears while inside, the translator said, "They weren't scared. They knew that if they didn't come out, eventually someone would have to come in and get them out".

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The Wild Boars explained that they didn't remember much at all from their rescue because it was so dark and they were all sedated. None were aware, however, that the rescue mission had made global headlines until they were all safely out of the cave and transported to a hospital.

Now that they are free, the boys all have the same goal.

They said that it was now their dream to get a good education and find a job - as well as play professional football - so they can support their families.

"I thought I was courageous, but these kids, this team is more braver than me", Ibrahimovic said. "So this probably the best team in the world". After presenting the team with pint-sized jerseys bearing her likeness, she introduced LA Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimović to the players.

That's when Ellen made a decision to give them a surprise. their favorite soccer player in the flesh - and dude couldn't have been nicer.

A daring operation was launched to reach the boys when they became stranded with their coach more than two miles deep inside the Tham Luang cave network on June 23.

To answer some burning questions about the incident, which saw the 12 players (who ranged in age from 11 to 17, as well as their 25-year-old coach) trapped in a flooded cave for 18 days: The cave was a "tourist attraction".

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