When Jose met Carlo…
Picture the scene: somewhere in Miami...
August 8th, 2013
A pause, and then both together: “NOT RIOJA!”
The two grey-haired men – one heavy-set, the other with a slight paella-paunch – lean in to one another and share a long, firm handshake – grinning in mutual admiration.
“You know they changed the wine after I had… A Bad Moment with it? You managed back-to-back Premier Leagues, my friend, but you never managed that!”
“I have a secret for you, Carlito. Never – NEVER – drink the Russian’s wine. Terrible. TER-RI-BLE. Always, I bring my own: not one from the bottle, a Special Wine!”
Both men laugh.
“How are you liking filling my shoes?”
“Ha – always size nines! I have Bernabeu-sized feet – for now. But I have a question: where are all the ashtrays? It was the same when I followed you and those temps to Stamford Bridge – couldn’t find an ashtray anywhere!”
“I like to leave these little puzzles for the men who follow me: things like hidden ashtrays and Mateja Kezman.”
“Tell me, Carlito, now we have more shared history than the members of Fleetwood Mac – who do you prefer: Abramovich or Perez.”
“Well, I have not yet been sacked by Perez, so I cannot yet answer that. Unlike some…”
“NEVER sacked. Does a sacked man get a Ferrari by FedEx? Does he? Does a sacked man walk away by ‘MU-TU-AL CON-SENT?”
There is a pause as both men lift their glasses for a sip: awkward smiles greet a slightly uncomfortable silence.
“How is Cristiano?”
“Molto bene! But I think he doesn’t like the hard work I make him do.”
“I know that: we exchanged text messages last night. I am just checking YOU know.”
“What about Fernando? Does he understand your Portuguese better than my Italian?”
“He tells me he is ready to have the greatest season of his life.”
“Oh, he told you that too? He said that that to me before I was fired. So tell me – what is your advice for a new manager in Madrid?”
“Simple. Beat Barcelona, and never park in Iker’s space. And, though I know this place well, you surely have advice for me at Chelsea?”
“Of course! Win trophies; play beautiful football; score hundreds of goals… and clear the garage for your next mutual-consent Ferrari!”
Both men laugh heartily.
“See you in Lisbon, Carlito.”
“In May? Yes, I’ll be there…”