Richard Gere needs to give Pepe a good talking to
IT’S fair to say I’ve never had much time for the city of Madrid.
In under 24 hours there in 2004 with a crack team of fellow optimists, I failed to gain entry to a Champions League quarter-final, had my phone dipped, narrowly avoided the Atocha train bombing and arrived home minus every item of luggage I’d brought - none of which were related incidents.
In such light, I couldn’t have given dos fiddlers who won Saturday night’s Champions League final at the San Siro between Balenaldo Madrid and their city rivals Atletico.
Yet, with Pepe still perfecting timeworn hallionry for Los Merengues, it was hard not to want the shy and retiring Diego Simeone and his noisy neighbours to give the ’90s denim namesake something worth rolling about the pitch for like a big girl’s blouse.
Speaking of unsavoury clothing, Rio Ferdinand had opted to check into BT Sport’s live coverage of the showpiece dressed like Doug Mountjoy - his tux-style attire and black velvet dickey bow truly something else.
Without further ado, the cup itself was then spirited with no carbon footprint to the muggy BT studio in a half-built Nissan Leaf electric car - a tad bizarre and underwhelming, albeit better than half a European Cup arriving in a fully-built car.
The real kicker, though, soon arrived - Alicia Keys getting lost on her way to the Superbowl/concrete jungle where dreams are made of and knocking out a pre-match gig on a big tarpaulin which had been dragged over the pitch.
With the kick-off time already running late and both teams on the verge of mass dehydration in the tunnel, Alicia finally headed home to Richard. Andrea Bocelli, though, was next up with some gusty opera on the back of his recent gig with Claudio Ranieri. If Pavarotti hadn’t been dead, this game might never have been played.
The first-half eventually got under way some time before sunrise, with Owen Hargreaves’ mangled accent quickly proceeding to make us crave the slightly less melting co-commentary of Michael Owen.
Zinedine Zidane’s aristocrats drew first blood after 15 minutes when chatty skipper Sergio Ramos, a full six millimetres offside, prodded home a Gareth Bale flick on.
Referee Mark Clattenburg, fresh from winning an FA Cup medal last week with Man United, gave the goal before turning his attention the rest of the night to avoiding putting Pepe over his knee after oxygen particles kept attacking the Portuguese simulator’s slappable lid.
When Antoine Griezmann missed a penalty for Atletico 60 seconds after the interval following Pepe’s foul on Fernando Torres (he was definitely playing), ‘the curse of el Pupas’ which squats on Atletico seemed set to strike. Nobody told Atleti sub Yannick Carrasco.
With the creosoted CR7 having gone AWOL for Real to focus on his ongoing conversion to a garden fence, it was the Belgian who started running the show in the Giuseppe Meazza.
He got his due rewards with his equaliser 10 minutes from time before his celebrations with his other half (hopefully it was his other half) dragged on long enough to be deemed foreplay in some places. The goal and heavy petting, though, proved to be in vain for The Mattress Makers.
Despite Simeone summoning the Atleti fans’ passion, cramp proved to be the real star man in extra-time. It was time for spot-kicks to decide which part of Spain’s capital the cup was headed to. Lo and behold, up stepped CR7 to steal the show with the decisive strike before whipping his kit off and hailing La Undecima like an oompa loompa on protein.
It wasn’t long before Pepe, only Pepe, was out with his fancy selfie-stick, no doubt taking snaps of himself being concussed by a collision with the victory confetti, while the team then proceeded to celebrate with Richard Gere. Yes, that Richard Gere.
Hopefully Dicky got a chance to take Pepe and his pretentious camera to La Scala for a few decent acting lessons.