In a sea of humanity, he sat alone. He said nothing yet his body language spoke volumes. He was their saviour but he was powerless to act.
The best soccer player on the planet knew what we all knew. Sometimes, despite what the commercial copywriters would have us believe, impossible is not 'nothing.'
It is exactly as advertised - a bridge too far, a summit too steep and no one, not even the brilliant Lionel Messi, can change what fate has planned.
In Barcelona's vast soccer fortress, the Germans ran amok and advanced to the Champions League final with a 3-0 win on Wednesday
. Bayern Munich, so often the bridesmaid of Europe's elite, was not to be denied.
This was its night, its time, its glory. Bayern Munich was too talented, too powerful and too hungry to allow Barcelona, with or without their talisman, a sniff of redemption.
As in Madrid the previous night, the damage had long since been done. Soccer's other great superstar was also subdued. Like Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo will be merely a spectator when two German clubs vie for Europe's most coveted prize at London's Wembley Stadium in a little over three weeks' time.
There is no question they are worthy finalists. Bayern Munich has been a model of consistency in the Champions League - reaching its third final in four years while showing remarkable resilience following its heartbreaking, penalty shootout loss to Chelsea less than 12 months ago in front of its own supporters.
Borussia Dortmund doesn't have the pedigree of Bayern, but it's better than most. Runners-up in the Bundesliga (to Bayern of course) it beat Real Madrid twice in this season's Champions League en route Wembley. Its first European final since 2002 is no fluke and though Dortmund will be the underdog, Bayern's coronation is by no means a foregone conclusion.
We had better get used to it.
Germany's rise as Europe's dominant force is no flash in the pan.
The real power base has been shifting in Germany's direction ever since it took a precious Champions League berth away from Italy two years ago.
It is no surprise Pep Guardiola, who led Barcelona to two Champions League titles and a host of other triumphs, is on his way to Munich to resume his managerial career.
The 'Special One' will soon follow suit. Jose Mourinho is about to bid 'adios' to Real Madrid after failing to conquer the European mountain with a third club.
Mourinho's move - possibly back to England - will spark a summer managerial merry-go-round just as it did when he left Italy three years ago.
Players, too, will be tempted by pastures new during the summer break.
Dortmund is already resigned to losing Mario Gotze to Bayern, making him the most expensive German player of all time. There will also be a queue of potential suitors for Polish striker Robert Lewandowski following his heroics against Madrid.
If Germany is the new powerhouse in Europe, how will that translate to the 2014 FIFA World Cup, now little more than a year away?
Spain has ruled the international roost since 2008, winning two European Championships and the World Cup itself in 2010.
Spain will travel to Brazil as the tournament favourite, but Germany will surely be in hot pursuit.
A relatively young German team lost out to its Spanish counterparts in the semifinals in South Africa but four years on the nucleus of that team has matured and is currently sprinting towards South America.
The stars may be aligning.
When (West) Germany lifted to World Cup in 1974, Bayern Munich was master of Europe - winning the European Cup three years in a row.
In the cyclical world of professional soccer - Munich, and perhaps Germany, is ready to reign again.
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