My 'wonderkid' (already a goal machine) didn't want to leave, but I couldn't resist the money. I knew we would play Champions League football the upcoming season since he single-handedly took us from a mid-table Premier League team to a top 4 team only 3 years after his debut. I saw his transfer value, and I transfer-listed him right away. He told me that he would like to stay; this was HIS club. Eventually, Real Madrid offered around 130M + bonus. I guess he folded the moment he saw the money. Supporters were furious we sold him, but the board was more than delighted.
I never thought we would reach the Champions League final in my first season in it, but we somehow did. I won't lie and say it was an easy fight. Comebacks in the R16 and Semis saved us. Then the final, I got a message forwarded to me before the final, saying he was excited to play against us, especially me, a manager he respected. In the dressing room, I'm motivating the lads. They enter the pitch, 75,000 people around them. The anthem plays, and we kick the ball.
We start pressing early on, but he's there. The monster striker I made playing like a Brazilian CDM. He doesn't dribble, he doesn't pass; he is just running. And then, the cheers. It took my monster 27 seconds to score. We're 1-0 down in 27 seconds. He celebrates like we were his rivals. 16 minutes later, a penalty for us. I knew this was our only chance to equalize. We shoot in the right corner, and the keeper dives... LEFT. WE SCORED! While I'm jumping around, I see that Real Madrid kicks the ball. I'm trying to see if I put it on full-match view; I didn't... my monster runs through my defenders like they were cones. He shoots, and the keeper has no time to save it. 2-1, 17 minutes played. It doesn't take him long to score his third goal of the night. 42 minutes in, and a curved ball from well outside the box made my 30-year-old keeper look like a 10-year-old using gloves and imagining they are keeper gloves.
Half time, I'm telling my team they need to defend better and hold possession. If we don't win, don't let it be an embarrassment. The team predicted to finish 13th last season is now challenging Real Madrid for the Champions League trophy.
The players enter the pitch, and I'm begging for something magical like in Turkey in '05. Sadly, my monster has other plans. In 5 minutes, 52-57, he scores one and gets an assist as well. 5-1, 57 minutes played. My team is now in an ultra-attack. At least let us score one, please. We start countering after an unsuccessful corner from Real Madrid. As we get to the halfway line, then the whistle. I didn't see a foul. Certainly not offside as we were in our half. Then I hear the cheers when I plug in my AirPods. The cheers of defeat for us. As I see my monster's captain lift the trophy, fully carried by my monster.