Real Madrid's worst nightmare may come true
So, Ramon Calderon got some kind of revenge after all.
The irony of Calderon's presidency of Real Madrid was that he ended up being the greatest ally imaginable to the man he fears and loathes more than anyone else in the world, the man who was out to get him: Florentino Perez.
It was Calderon's big mouth, bumbling behaviour, paranoia and corrupt ways that made it so incredibly easy for Perez to come back to Madrid as a saviour, a messiah set to rescue Madrid despite having walked out on them as a failure just three years before.
It was Calderon who signed Cristiano Ronaldo only for Perez to parade him round the Santiago Bernabeu as his own.
And to top it all off, it appeared that Calderon had unwittingly bequeathed yet another gift - the perfect, fairytale ending to Perez's triumphant return to the presidency.
It was Calderon who requested that the Santiago Bernabeu host the final of the Champions League but it will be Perez who presides over it. Perez in the presidential chair - his presidential chair - as Real Madrid win their 10th European Cup, with the most glamorous side in world football.
Poisoned chalice for Perez
It looked like a hat trick of mistakes; another helping hand for the man Calderon least likes to help. Instead, the last two weeks have proven to a small, if ultimately vacuous, victory for the former president of Real Madrid. Calderon appeared to have left behind a cup of gold, but it has proven a poisoned chalice.
On May 22 Perez's team, the most expensively assembled in history, will be nowhere in sight. As the host of someone else's party, he may have to be. And as if that wasn't bad enough, just look at those whose party it might be. Gnashing his teeth, wearing a false smile, Perez may have to watch other people enjoying themselves. Other people he really doesn't want to see enjoy themselves.
Madrid was knocked out of the Champions League by Olympique Lyon last week, meaning that they had been eliminated at the first knock-out round for six successive years. According to some reports, Perez stormed off in a huff muttering: "how could they do this to me?!".
When Perez returned to the presidency in the summer, he talked about returning Madrid back to their rightful place. He talked about undoing the disaster of the last three seasons under Ramon Calderon. Instead, his team has fallen at the same stage of the Champions League as Calderon's did. Twice. At the same stage as his own team had during his previous mandate. Three times.
And the hurt just keeps on building. There might have been some comfort in the elimination of Sevilla on Tuesday night, some sneaking feeling of well, at least we're not the only ones, at least it's a Spanish thing. But that was washed away by what was simultaneously happening in London and by what happened in Barcelona the following night.
Wesley Sneijder provided the prefect pass for Samuel Eto'o to see Inter through to the quarter-finals on Tuesday night. Leo Messi scored twice to see Barcelona win 4-0 and go through to the quarter-finals on Wednesday night.
The draw for the Champions League quarter-finals and semifinals will take place on Friday. There are four clubs that the Real Madrid president desperately doesn't want to see in the final. Half of those in the draw.
Worse still, they are arguably the strongest four, with the exception of Arsenal. And even their presence might upset him a bit. After all, they're coached by Arsene Wenger - the man who has turned Perez down four times now because he simply does not trust him, because he doesn't believe in the Bernabeu project, in galacticos, because, as he announced, "you can't buy the Champions League."
Champions League final at Bernabeu without Real Madrid
Imagine the Champions League final. Madrid's Champions League final. Perez's Champions League final. On a Saturday for the first ever time. The Bernabeu packed; the world's attention turned to Madrid's temple.
And out on the pitch, there's Manchester United, the side who sold Cristiano Ronaldo to Madrid who, in turn, presented him alongside the club's nine European Cups.
Or Bayern Munich, led by Arjen Robben - the player Perez sold because, amongst other things, he was Calderon's signing.
Or Inter, with Wesley Sneijder - another Perez outcast and one who left with a defiant parting shot against the new president. And Samuel Eto'o, the man Perez sold to Barcelona with a mwah-ha-ha, tapping his fingers together and cooing "excellent", declaring that he had placed a time bomb in the Barca dressing room. A bomb that, in his defence, did go off. But only after three league titles, two European Cups, and countless goals and pointed celebrations against Madrid.
Or, even worse, Barcelona. Imagine Barcelona winning the European Cup at the Santiago Bernabeu. Perez can imagine it - and he can't image anything worse. Sitting, squirming, in the directors' box, his directors' box, as Barca take his place. How could they do this to me?! How could Calderon do this to me?! For Pérez, it would make extremely painful viewing.
In the aftermath of Madrid's knock out, Ramon Calderon announced that he would like Barca to win the Champions League because they are a Spanish club. Most wrote the comment off as an empty patriotic platitude, something he didn' t really mean.
They were wrong. Calderon meant it. Because, ultimately, it's so often the politics not the play that matters most at Madrid.
And so often that is precisely the problem.
About the Author
Sid Lowe lives in Madrid and writes a weekly column for guardian.co.uk. He also writes regularly for the Guardian, World Soccer, FourFourTwo, and the Telegraph. He works as a commentator and panellist for Spanish, Asian and U.S. television, and has acted as translator for David Beckham, Michael Owen, and Thomas Gravesen.