The Downfall of an Icon

He blindly pushed the door of the off license open and staggered out into the bright daylight. It stabbed his vision like sharpened bar white lasers. The world was a gaudy blur. He tipped the bottle of sangria to his lips and put it on his head. A world of new memories to wash away the old ones gushed into his mouth and streaked down through his stubble. Specks of the liquid alighted on his maroon and blue shirt. They immediately dulled and blended in, just darker than before. Darker than before.

He set off for a busy square in town. Loads of people milling about on a day like this. Producing a tattered cardboard sign from the recesses of his shabby pants he set it down and pulled a dirty leather football from a bin he kept it in. He began to do keepyups while taking deep messy gulps from his bottle. Scrawled on the sign was ‘Will split defences for money/alcohol’. His beleagured form took this position for the rest of the scorching afternoon. Whenever someone would offer him a few euros to show off his skill he would burp and instruct them to take up any position they wanted amidst the constant milling bustling crowd. He would then instantly pick a delicate perfect pass straight to their feet wthout them having to move.

Later in the warm Barcelona evening he lay prostrate and forgotten across the cobbles. One arm wrapped around his tattered leather football, the other clutching an empty sangria bottle. The wind gently blew his cardboard sign a few feet, then a few feet more, but it may as well have blown it to Madrid. Draped around his neck was a grubby reminder of past glories, of the the days before Thiago Alcantara stepped into the team. Draped around his neck were some champions league winners medals that the shine had long ago left.

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