The ancient footballing scriptures of Real Madrid are a well-guarded mystery. Only few have ever set their eyes upon the sacred writings. But as it always happens with sacred scriptures, the prophecies contained within get passed on from generation to generation, sometimes being twisted and distorted in the process, but inevitably gaining momentum, like a snowball rolling down the slope turning into an avalanche.
Here is the prophecy about the chosen one, the savior, an enigmatic figure destined to play a central role in the chronicles of Real Madrid, leaving a golden mark of glory and success:
The millennium would turn and he would come, a player from afar, elegant and gracious, his every touch a joy to watch. He would dance upon the football field with mesmerizing simplicity, the fans would chant his name in a state of football delirium, addicted to the beauty of his performance, they would want more and more, like snakes hypnotized by the music of a charmer’s pipe. Success would be his inevitable companion and everything he touches would turn to gold*.
The days would turn to months and years, he would step down from the stage and give the main role to others, younger and hungrier for success and glory on the field. He would hang his boots on the wall leaving a mark in the hearts of the fans all over the world. He would go, yet he would stay so close, keeping a special place in his heart for Real Madrid. He would remain a Madridista in his soul.
Years would pass, generations would change. Some of the fans cheering for Real Madrid would not have watched football for long enough to remember him. But he would be there, supporting and encouraging that new generation of players, some of whom would have shared the pitch with him during his swan song. A winner by nature, he would transmit his aura to the team and inspire them to victory.
In time of need he would take the mantle of the coach. Difficult as it might seem, his coaching success would overshadow his legacy as a player. With grace and ease, he would immediately bring triumphs and glory. He would achieve unthinkable deeds, a three-peat of UCL wins, something unachievable for any other coach, even defending the trophy would seem like a distant mirage for others, but he would make it look so simple, as simple as a perfect volley in the corner of the goal during an UCL final would look when executed by a genius.
He would win the tournament for the 13th time in Real Madrid’s history. 13. An ominous number. Like a harbinger of doom, heralding an impending catastrophe.
He would step down and go, but never say good bye, more of a "see you later" in the scale of farewells.
Time would pass, coaches would change in a whirlwind of disastrous results. The triumphant team would crumble to pieces. A shadow of the past success.
And then he would return in time of woe – his second coming. The savior would put his legacy at risk to redeem his beloved club from their solemn hour. He would once again embrace the mantle of the coach and give his heart and soul to deliver them from the disgrace. His triumphant return would bring the fans together. They would cut palm branches and lay them across his path, chanting his name in joy and happiness. "Save us! Save us! Save us!"
But then he would have to suffer. He would be oppressed and afflicted, yet he would not open his mouth. He would be led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he would not open his mouth.
The same fans would blame him and criticize him for everything wrong, accuse him of mismanaging the team, lack of tactics, favoritism, over reliance on the same players and the same crossing scheme of the old days of glory. Mercilessly they would want a sacrifice, regardless of the circumstances, regardless of the financial difficulties, regardless of the countless injuries and the inability of his players to step up and perform when most needed. Regardless of the good results on the background of a difficult season. They would want to crucify him. And he would oblige. He would do anything for the club of his heart. He would step on the sacrificial alter like a lamb and silently go.
And then, would come the end days. A white horse would come, and it would be weak and scrawny, barely walking in its weakness, limping and falling with every stride. And then a red, blue and yellow horse would come, strong and proud, and its rider would carry a large sword that would slay everyone on his path. And then a black horse would come, its rider holding a chain in his hands and he would say "No more transfers allowed for the rider of the white horse". And then a pale horse would come. And its rider would be named UEFA, and corruption would follow close behind. And they would be given power to exclude from UCL.
The Sun would turn black, the Moon would turn blood red, the stars in the sky would fall to the earth, the sky would rain fire upon the white horse and it would cease to exist. The end.
The end of the prophecy. But prophecies are vague and unclear, always hard to understand and interpret. Distorted and twisted by the passage from mouth to mouth. Is there a grain of truth or is it all the fruit of imagination? Would this dark vision materialize into solid reality?
Prophecies always come to be true. Because when they don’t, it is just not the time depicted in the prophecy.
* Well almost everything :D