[The front office at the Bernabeu Stadium. Spring, 2010.]
José a.k.a. “Joe Moe” Mourinho: Don Fiorentino, I am honored and grateful that you have invited me to your office. And may your first signing of the season be a masculine, handsome, crack signing.
Fiorentino a.k.a. “Fifi” Pérez: You are welcome to my office, Senhor Mourinho. Please, tell me what I can do for you.
Joe Moe: Bom, Don Fiorentino. I need a man who has powerful friends. I need a million in cash.
Fifi: But cash you have, Senhor Mourinho. Signor Moratti is always very generous with his friends, and you are a friend of Signor Moratti.
Joe Moe: This is true, Don Fiorentino. But Don Fiorentino, I need all of those superstars that you carry around in your pocket, like so many nickels and dimes. These Signor Moratti does not have, and you do.
Fifi: It is my understanding, Senhor Mourinho, that you are still under contract to Signor Moratti.
Joe Moe: Should it be agreeable to you, Don Fiorentino, Signor Moratti may be persuaded to set that contract aside, with a signed release and a certified check for 1000 euros.
Fifi: You mean I should make him an offer that he can’t refuse.
Joe Moe: It’s nothing personal, Don Fiorentino. It’s purely business.
Fifi: There are negotiations being made that are going to solve all of your problems, Senhor Mourinho. That’s all I can tell you right now. [Clears his throat as Joe Moe turns to leave.] … By the way, I admire your trophies very much. But your business is a little dangerous.
Act II: Da Odder Meetin’
[Scene I: The Camp Nou lockerroom. August, 2011. A television is tuned to ‘Deporte Noche’ in the background. Iker Casillas tells a reporter: “My míster is no different than any powerful man, any man with power, like a president or senator.”]
Josep a.k.a. “Joey Pep”, a.k.a. “Joey Guardioli” Guardiola: [Jabs a finger into the chest of Gerard a.k.a. “Pickpocket”, a.k.a. “Picky” Piqué.] Only don’t tell me that you’re innocent. Because it insults my intelligence and it makes me very angry.
Víctor a.k.a. “Big Vic” Valdés: What did he say?
Picky: Badda-beep, badda-boop, badda-boop, badda-beep!
Carles a.k.a. “Charlie the Captain” Puyol: [Jostles Picky.] Moc moc!
Joey Pep: [Shrugs, looks heavenward.] I have a sentimental weakness for my players and I spoil them. They talk when they should listen. [Boxes Picky on the ear.] Whatsa matter with you? I think your brain is going soft with all that comedy you are playing with that young girl. Never tweet anyone outside the Club what you are thinking again.
Big Vic: [Shakes his head.] In Spain, women are more dangerous than toros.
Charlie the Captain: Don Guardioli, Joe Moe’s people chisle my territory and hack at my men and we do nothing about it.
Joey Pep: Try and be patient.
Charlie the Captain: Just take off the handcuffs, please, Coach.
Joey Pep: Be patient, Carles.
Charlie the Captain: We gotta protect ourselves, Coach. [Raises voice as Joey Pep leaves.] At least give me the chance to recruit some new men! A DM, for instance. Why another CB?
Joey Pep: I went to the referrees, Boss, like a good sportsman. These boys were brought up before La Liga. The judge sentenced them to three games suspension, and then suspended the suspension. Suspended suspension!
Boss Sandro: What’s the matter with you? Is this what you’ve become, a Pinocchio who cries like a woman? “Oh, what do I do? What do I do?” What is that nonsense? Ridiculous!
Joey Pep: Boss, wait a minute. I’m not talking about Juande, or Mickey Pelligrini. I’m talking about a coach that’s mixed up in bad business. I’m talking about a – a – a dishonest coach – a crooked coach who got mixed up in low whacks and false rumors and oughta get what’s coming to him. That’s a terrific story. And we have media people on our side, don’t we, Boss? Can’t we get that story out? And maybe it’ll give the Frenchman time to cool off.
[Joey Pep clicks on the television. The two men watch as Arsene Wenger holds a press conference: “You don’t understand. Frankie Fab never makes that move. That position is perfect for him. It’ll make him a big star. I’m gonna keep him out of the Camp Nou. And let me tell you why. Frankie was one of my most valuable proteges. Since 2003 I’ve had him under contract. I spent hundreds of thousands of pounds. I was gonna make him a big star. He was sweet, he was innocent, he was the greatest captain Arsenal’s ever had, and they’ve had them from all over the world. And then Joey Pep comes along with his olive oil voice and Catalan charm and Frankie runs off. He threw the EPL away just to make me look ridiculous. And a man in my position can’t afford to be made to look ridiculous. And you tell that Gamper that if he wants to try any rough stuff that I ain’t no Moratti. Yeah, I heard that story.” Joey Pep clicks the television off.]
Boss Sandro: [Sighs.] All right, Joey. Let Frankie leave the Gunners. Take the CB. And call El País.
Act III: Da odder odder meetin’.
[Scene I: The front office at the Bernabeu. August, 2011. Fifi watches a television tuned to ‘Deporte Noche’. Joey Pep is shaking the hand of Frankie Fab, who beams in his new blaugrana jersey. The Catalan press is shouting and taking pictures: “Frankie, come here!” “Let me look at you!” “You’re beautiful, beautiful, just beautiful!”]
Fifi: [On the phone.] Look, Rocky, I know it’s been rough, but you’ve got some labor trouble coming up. My captain, he’s a trusted man. He can help you make that trouble disappear …
Joe Moe: [Storms in, slams his fist on Fifi’s desk. Fifi jumps.] You goddamn owners, you really make me laugh. I do you a favor and take this job in when you’re having a bad time, and now you’re gonna try and push me out!
Fifi: [Hangs up, stands up.] This club took you in because I bankrolled your big gamble, and the Moratti Family on the Boot guaranteed your success. Now we’re talking business, let’s talk business. Where’s my goddamn trophy? And I don’t mean that busted piece of tin in the hallway!
Joe Moe: Fiorentino, Fiorentino, what have I ever done to make you treat me so disrespectfully? Haven’t I been devoted to you? To the Club? And yet Vanny Valdano still badmouths me to the press. And you say nothin’!
Fifi: Your father Félix wouldn’t want to hear this, Joey. Football is business, it’s not personal.
Joe Moe: Well then, business is going to have to suffer. And please, do me a favor, Fiorentino. No more advice on how to patch things up. Just help me win, please? [Stomps to the door.] Goddamn owners don’t respect nothin’. [Slams door.]
[Scene II: The Camp Nou, Real Madrid bench. August, 2011. The final minutes of the La Liga “Supercopa” match.]
Joe Moe: [Points at Képler “Pepe Batters” Laveran Lima Ferreira and Marcelo “Machine Gun” Vieira.] Listen, I want somebody good – and I mean very good – to make that tackle. I want you to take care of that sonofabitch right away. I want you to make that first thing on your list, understand?
Aitor a.k.a. “Kranky” Karanka: But Senhor, while Frankie’s being guardiola like this he is invulnerable. It would be disastrous. All the other Liga teams would turn against you. The Club would be outcast. Even the old man’s protection would run for cover. So, do me a favor, take this into consideration.
Joe Moe: [Ignores him.] Come on, kids, don’t fool around. Just let your foot drop to your side and the cleat slip out. Everyone will think you’ve got the ball. They’re gonna be staring at your big hair, Machine. Afterwards you walk away real fast, but you don’t run. Don’t look nobody directly in the eye, hut don’t look away either. They’re gonna be watching me, believe me, so don’t you worry about nothing. You wait until I give you the signal [makes “Disco Roll” arm motion] and go from there.
Pepe Batters: What the hell is that?
Machine Gun: It’s a message. It means … Frankie Fab rolls with the hedgehogs.