We were 20 years old and the day after the Champions League final in May a teacher with a Catalan last name put us on the test. We did not care, because I said it, we were 20 years old. On the morning of December 1, we went to a bar to watch the Intercontinental final to admire Raúl, as young as we were, so daring, to receive Seedorf's pass, to hear a rival defense arrive and to pass him by; be about to finish, but wait for another opponent to arrive and make him pass too. It was like us: we had to be in class in that gray building, huge and with columns in the middle of the class, but we passed by. We were in a bar, starting on Friday and leaving tomorrow, with no other purpose than to extend that moment and ask for another omelet.
We wanted to be journalists and tell that Raúl was going to eat the world and that Madrid was winning Champions and Intercontinental Cups again, like 30 years ago, when our parents were children. We had grown from disappointment to disappointment in Europe: the Fifth gave us joys in the League and then left us defeated and cursed with PSV and then the Milan of Sacchi and that 5-0 in San Siro with that distant goal by Ancelotti. History is almost always circular, only sometimes it changes its meaning. Europe and the mundialitos were ancient and distant stories, unlikely successes. We knew it while playing soccer leagues in the University, in hours, by the way, also of classes.
The mobiles only served to call and send messages and the internet was a strange thing to send emails. We studied what a tipometer was (a kind of rule to lay out the pages of newspapers) and still sold them in stationery stores. It was as if something new and different were beginning and we were not yet aware and we had no idea where I was going.
Twenty years have passed: Raúl let the second defense pass and then finished off to the goalkeeper's side, impossible for him. It was not the best match of the seven of Madrid, but was chosen the best, because it could not be otherwise. Now Raúl trains the cadets, nobody uses the cell phones to call and I have no idea if the young people of today continue to use the word pellas when they do not go to class.