When in the winter of 2014 I heard for the first time the music that RedOne had composed for Real Madrid, and to which I had to write the lyrics, the Moroccan producer said that this song, the “Décima song”, would sound good anywhere, but never as well as when the Champions League titles were held. I thought: “but what a Décima, what Champions titles” because we had gone twelve years without finals and then we still had a wall to jump to reach Lisbon. I thought about it, in fact, until the 92nd minute of that game, five minutes before José Ángel Sánchez, the general manager of Real Madrid, wrote to us when Ramos scored: “If we win, Ancelotti will premiere it tomorrow at the Bernabéu singing”. Eight years have passed, five finals and five titles, and it has been sung in all shapes and colors (also, finally, a cappella by fans). And this Saturday in Saint Denis, and this Sunday in Madrid, I was able to see how RedOne’s prophecy was fulfilled: it never sounds better than in the finals, the fans never hear better singing the And nothing more how in the killer rounds of Champions and in the celebration of his victory. As if, by composing that music, Red knew exactly what she was being destined for.
Between the chorus of that song, between the popular songs that the fans have made their own (“how can I not love you”) and, above all, under the march of José de Aguilar’s Madrid anthem, the white players undertook this Sunday a particularly tiring odyssey: too many stops (the Almudena, the Community, the Town Hall) to be able to meet the true protagonists of the celebrations: the fans who burst through the streets around Cibeles, cut from the first hour. It is understood that the representatives of the people are in the institutions, but having the people directly at hand: wouldn’t it be logical to skip their representation? After nine o’clock at night, they were finally able to go to the fountain of the goddess to let their hair down a bit after enduring blessings and speeches with their ties stiff. That’s where the real party began, especially Hazard, who grabbed the microphone to promise war: “Next year I’m going to give everything for you,” he shouted, turning Cibeles upside down. There was still the big party at home, the Santiago Bernabéu, which roared like on the best nights waiting for the idols.
Of course, these solemn appointments in churches and town halls always leave great images. The one of Marcelo and Benzema taking the Champions from the Cathedral as if they had just baptized it, dragging it almost by force; Rodrygo’s with the celebration shirt and tie paying the same attention to protocol as to the City defense; the staff, dressed in strict black, gathering at the gates of the Cathedral in the image of a typical movie funeral in which strange things begin to happen. Courtois chewed gum; Marcelo told Movistar that a celebration in a place like that gave him “vertigo” and “a little ashamed.” “Is Marcelo left for a while?” the journalist asked the captain, who is leaving Madrid as the most successful player in its history. “I think I’m still very good,” said the winger, a phrase that could be signed by the five-time European champions who began their harvest in 2014 and have not stopped almost a decade later, with several looking out for retirement: that they are still very good.
Two hours earlier, on Ibiza Street in the Spanish capital, several writers were resting before a new signing session in the Retiro Park, where the Book Fair is being held. Cars full of people with the Madrid shirt pass in the direction of the center. “Whoever underestimates the power of football is wrong”, says the Barcelona novelist, and culé, Carlos Zanón. “Years ago in Catalonia there was a time when Barcelona played in such a way and won in such a way that many people thought that, if you could win any title with football, you could win anything with politics”, endorsing with his peculiar humor a thesis developed by some of his colleagues half seriously, half in jest: the process It was Messi’s fault. Madrid’s season in the Champions League, jumping from one even more difficult one to another, has also generated a reaction that goes beyond sports, although it does not move to politics: it is a recurring topic of conversation whether you are a soccer fan or not, an emotional issue that involves many people because of its extraordinary, almost miraculous nature. That can be seen in the number of hallucinated congratulatory messages from many anti-Madridistas; they do not forgive the worst wishes, but they recognize the merit. Something that has to do with the template (some guys who are not easy to hate, as I explained Xavier Aldekoa this Sunday in La Vanguardia) and for the empathy that ends up being generated by being given up so many times, and you continue to get up amid the hysteria of your fans at any minute.
At one point over the table, Zanón asks me about the articles written this season that could not be published due to an urgent change in the scoreboard. “Some,” I reply. I tell him about David Trueba’s theory, which says that football is an unusual sport in which what happens cannot be chronicled, only what the result says. That’s why everything was bad before ’90, suddenly it’s wonderful in ’91 because a ball hit the post and, instead of going out, it went in. “But that also makes football look like nothing else to life,” says Zanón. “You are a good, healthy, generous, kind and affectionate person, and at the age of 30 an illness catches you and takes you ahead. And your life is explained from your death.
From far away came the dull roar of Calle Alcalá, where the fans stopped for not being able to continue to Cibeles. Two of them, Marta and Elías, students, began to open up between shoves and elbows to try to reach the fountain. Without knowing it, they summed up the best Champions League in Madrid’s history: coming back until after the games.
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