Short Story #1
FINALLY! I can kick off what I’ve been putting off for the longest while due to procrastination and busy schedules. I’m kicking off Short Story Sunday with an old favorite of mine (it’s from 2011). It’s a football short featuring two of the world’s biggest ‘rivals’: Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Don’t expect stories every Sunday though, for I won’t be able to keep up. I am a rebel writer and I write when I get in the mood. I am not one of those writers who complete short stories in one go (according to the topic). The most I aim to provide this year is 20 tops. I know, selfish, but I can’t share everything on here.
I have a confession: it’s not 100% edited and I know this goes against all writing rules, but this one is the only exception.
Without further adieu… UNLIKELY GUEST.
Cristiano Ronaldo rolled his eyes in both disgust and frustration at the television which was running and re-running images of Lionel Messi. Messi in his pimped out burgundy velvet jacket; which by the way, Cristiano most definitely approved. That jacket was a winner’s jacket from the very moment it stepped in front of the flashing lights. Messi with his damn infectious boyish smile as he made his way to the stage and toward media hound puppy, Pele, who was putting on a show for the world to see him embracing and accepting the young player. Everybody knows Pele is mad about his name being strung in the same sentence with the gifted Argentine. Messi as he put his fingers then his hand on the golden ball.
Messi with his Ballon d’Or.
Cristiano had nothing against Messi. No, not at all but he had plans for that Ballon d’Or. He had already written his acceptance speech – although Kaka had warned him about it. He had also planned to tease Messi with the golden award, by asking him if he want to touch what he missed out on, then hold it high above Messi’s head so the little twerp wouldn’t be able to reach it, much less, touch it. And then he, Cristiano would have sneered and grinned and spat,
“So how does it feel that you’ve come close but not quite to netting a golden hat trick, eh? Even Platini had it all wrong.”
And then he planned to laugh in the Argentine’s face and tell him …
Sounds from the screen brought him back to the present. Okay, so that was not the exact plan, but it sounded nice and arrogant and it made him feel better. A whole lot better. Besides, the ceremony was two nights ago. Coach told him not to attend because of the intense training in preparation against Malaga the next day. But Cristiano felt otherwise. He wanted to attend to show the world that he was not afraid of being second to Messi on the world stage, for at the end of the day, image was everything to Cristiano Ronaldo.
So he should have been there. Even if it was just for face time. He should have been sitting in the front row next to Messi or Xavi or heck, in the middle of the Barcelona buddies! See how they would have liked that. He should have been there to collect his FIFA Pro Award and not Zidane, who was basking in the glory – his glory – as if he had the right. He should have been …
This time a firm but hesitant rap on the door brought him back to the present once again. Who could it be at – he checked his watch – almost ten PM on this chilly Madrid night? It better not be Kaka, he thought as he picked himself up and lazily strolled to get the door in his Real Madrid sweatshirt and track pants. And it better not be Benzema coming through with an excuse to get help with his Spanish so he can pick up Latin women or Özil trying to …
“Leo?” Cristiano sputtered. He squinted. He blinked. He rubbed his eyes. He pinched himself. He was not hallucinating. Lionel Messi was standing on his door step with a goofy grin and a box in his hand. “W-What are you doing here?”
“I brought cake.” Messi gestured at the box in his hand with his chin.
“If you’re trying to be funny, it’s not gonna work. Everyone knows you can’t tell good jokes!”
Leo shrugged. “Aren’t you going to let me in?”
Cristiano contemplated the question. Why must he invite his rival into his house? Was this some kind of a joke? A trick perhaps? Maybe FC Barcelona sent Messi to secretly lure him away from his beloved Madrid? Whatever it was, this visit was going to be interesting. “Sure, come in.” Cristiano held the door ajar for the Argentine Crack, and then quickly scanned the abandoned street to see if anyone was camping out with cameras aimed at his house. If his teammates got word of this visit he will not live to see the end of it. He scowled at Messi’s parked SUV in the drive way and secured the door.
“What are you doing here?” I hate you. “You hate me!”
Messi tutted. “Oh really? I wonder who said that?” he rested the box on the newly imported Brazilian coffee table not even bothering to give the dwelling the look-over. That annoyed Cristiano. Leo started to open the box. “So, you bastard, you couldn’t be there to see me lift my third consecutive Ballon d’Or, eh?”
“Erm,” Cristiano walked back to the couch and sat down. There was a beer commercial running. “I had practice. And why would I want to see you lift it?”
Messi shrugged. “I would have let you touch it.”
“Really?” Cristiano looked at the box. Messi was beginning to lift something shiny, gold and round out of it and … “Is that what I think it is?”
Messi nodded. “Yes.”
Cristiano watched as the Argentine set the prestigious award on the coffee table. It looked as if it belonged. “Who knows you’re here?”
“No one,” Messi almost rolled his eyes. “I’m not a kid, Cris.”
“I didn’t say you …” Cristiano scooped the golden ball off the table. “It’s so beautiful. No scratch that. It’s gorgeous. What if I accidently drop it on the floor and break it?”
Messi snorted. “Don’t be a Ramos now!”
Cristiano laughed. When Real Madrid won the 2011 Copa del Rey, Ramos was so excited he let the thing fall under a moving bus. Mourinho was stark mad although Iker tried to convince him that Ramos was drunk.
“Maybe I’ll win it in 2012.”
Messi shrugged. “Maybe.”
“Hey, I don’t like that tone. What’s with that?”
“Lots of players are bringing their A game. We may not even be in the top three next year.”
“I don’t see anyone else trying to give us a run for the golden glory.”
“Do you not see the way Fabregas is playing? I wouldn’t write him off as a future Ballon d’Or winner. And Alexis got something going for him. He’s going to blow up one day.”
Cristiano finally set the award down and smiled at his rival. He was not bad at all. “Thanks. Three years straight I lost to you and here you are not trying to rub it in my face. I guess compared to me, you are a saint.”
Messi winced. “Please! Leave the name calling for Iker!”
They laughed. Okay, so Messi was a little funny, but Cristiano wasn’t going to say so. At least he got to handle what was going to be his next year. It’ll be his second. And maybe he’ll repay the unexpected visit. Messi stayed a little while longer. He declined offered drinks and treats. They talked about their family and girlfriends. When he finally escorted the Argentine to the door, Cristiano warned,
“Better not get too comfortable though. I’m still gonna kick your butt on the field.”
Messi looked back and grinned. “I expect you to, Cris. I expect you to.”
“Hala Madrid!” Cristiano shouted.
Messi answered triumphantly, “Visca el Barça!” as he made his way to his SUV.
End Note: Football fans are often torn over their favorite teams, especially the RM & Barça fans. I used RM’s CR and Barca’s Messi to show that it doesn’t matter which team you support, for its hard making friends and when you finally make good friends, they don’t support your club and it may tear the friendship apart all in the name of football. Don’t let that happen to your friendship.
Also, the last time I wrote this, Cristiano did in fact win the Ballon d’Or. This time around, Messi seem to be the favorite once again after a stellar season.
© Diana Tyler
Originally posted here on my football blog: