Title: The Godfather
Character: #15 Leo Torres
Summary: Real Madrid buys Leo Torres from Atletico Madrid. While he is not exactly a Real Madrid legacy, his godfather is essential in sealing the deal.
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- I have no idea about Atletico’s cantera so I am generally basing this with what little I know about Real Madrid’s cantera.
- I do not know who Leo’s real godfather is.
- I don’t hate Atletico. How could I when Nando is from Atletico?
- I find it weird to refer to Real Madrid as “Real” instead of “Madrid” but I had to so that it won’t be too confusing.
- Alejandro Curras’ name was taken from 2 wee wittle random Real Madrid canteranos (both from Benjamin B). If anyone is bearing the same name, I apologize. It is purely coincidental.
- According to my calculations, Leo should be 18, turning 19 in this fic.
Translations: mijo (mi hijo) – my son; tio – uncle
06 July 2029, Friday, 8:03 am. Leo stepped in the Ciudad Real Madrid for his first training session with his new team. Training was to start at 10, a tradition Madrid maintained since the first Mourinho era. Actually he wanted to start training right away but since he couldn’t he figured he could use the gym while waiting.
Leo grew up in the youth system of Atletico Madrid but was a secret Real Madrid supporter. He did support all of Atletico’s games along with Real’s but during Madrid derbies, he always supported Real and not Atletico. He avoided watching the derbies with his friends or family so they wouldn’t know. He didn’t even dare mention his support for Real to anyone but his Uncle Sergio, who was his father’s best friend and his godfather. It was after all, his influence that made him like Real Madrid.
He played as a forward or right winger in the Atletico cantera but after a fateful Real v. Atletico match in La Liga where his uncle was playing his very last game, he decided to switch. He approached the coach the next day about his decision without telling his father. At that time his team was playing in the Alevin category and badly needed a right back. Leo found that he had the perfect mix of defensive mindedness, forward runs and dangerous crosses that made him a natural at this position.
During the first game he played in that position, his father was there to watch him. He assisted in 2 goals which led to their team’s win over Real Madrid’s Alevin A team. His father hugged him tightly after the game.
“I’m surprised the coach placed you in right back,” his dad said.
“Actually dad,” Leo started. “I asked the coach to place me there. It’s been almost a month since I’ve switched positions.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” his dad asked.
“I was scared you wouldn’t approve,” he answered silently.
His dad hugged and kissed him again. “Of course I would approve. Every position is important, mijo.”
“You’re not mad I’m not playing in your position?” he asks.
“You don’t have to. You should play in a position where you’re good at. You seem comfortable as a full back. And dangerous,” his dad winks at him. “I’m really, really proud of you.”
He didn’t even mention Sergio.
Being a natural right back was also the reason why Real brought him in. After the retirement of Dani Carvajal two years ago, Real was struggling to find a replacement. They had a series of forgettable loans, none lasting for more than half a season. It was quite surprising that they managed to win the Europa Cup and the Copa del Rey last season with an obvious flaw in the back 4. But that’s another story to tell for another day.
Real Madrid never really explicitly expressed interest in him before he was signed. There was all these speculation in the press about him going to a London club (reports were split between Chelsea and Liverpool, both his father’s former teams) and there was a bid for him by Napoli, which he heard they subsequently withdrew. But Real Madrid was never on their radars, his or the press’.
So you can imagine his surprise when Zinedine Zidane caught his eye one day at the beginning of April as they were leaving the Ciudad Deportiva de Majadahonda.
Leo was last to finish that day, practicing kicks from the penalty spot as per Uncle Sergio’s advice. You never know when you need them, he said. He was coming from the locker room and Zidane was just closing the door of the director’s office. It was apparently not his first time there, as he was seeing himself out, the legendary player. Zidane gave him a little nod when their eyes met. He turned his head and saw no one else around. He was surely the person Zidane recognized. He nodded back and Zidane smiled as he left, leaving Leo a little stunned.
In the following days within the week, he saw Zidane returning almost every day. The fourth time Leo saw Zidane, he accidentally bumped into him. His attention was caught by his agent’s texts about how he could get a huge transfer deal for Leo as long as Leo agreed to increase his percentage. Just this one deal, he said. Just this once. Leo apologized without looking up and was surprised to see Zidane’s smiling face when he finally did.
“How is training, Leo?” Zidane asked him.
Leo was a bit stunned. This was only their second interaction after that other day. “It’s going well,” he said.
“That’s good,” Zidane said. “I’ll see you again soon.”
Leo saw Zidane at the training grounds twice more that week. Except now, he watched Atletico train.
There were no games between Real and Atletico anymore, so they didn’t take Zidane’s presence as spying on team tactics. Instead, everyone in the team automatically knew someone was moving across town to the Bernabeu. Leo’s guess was as good as his team mates. It was probably Alejandro Curras, their most prominent midfielder. He had been linked to different big named teams such as AC Milan and Manchester United and it wouldn’t be surprising if Real Madrid also took an interest in him. Regardless, whoever elicited Real Madrid’s first ever French president personally coming to Atletico grounds was probably that good.
The next day, his agent called him early in the morning. His dad picked up the phone as he was still asleep but his agent wanted to speak to him directly. It was an urgent matter, he said. Groggily, he answered the phone only to be greeted with a very loud “TORRES I NEED TO TALK TO YOU!!!” from his agent.
“What?” he replied, half awake.
“Zinedine Zidane wants you in Real Madrid.”
Now, he was fully awake. This was unexpected. This is not real, he thought. No, surely this was a dream.
“Torres, are you still there?” his agent says.
“Uh… yeah. Sorry. What was that you were saying?” Leo said as nonchalantly as he could, trying to hear his agent over his loudly beating heart.
“Real Madrid wants to sign you. I need to meet up with you ASAP.” So this was why he wanted an increase in his fees. Sure, his earnings were a far cry from a blue collar worker, especially at his young age, but 20% was a huge increase from the usual 10% cut. It was practically robbery.
Leo agreed to meet up with his agent in a cafe at 9. He arrived at 8:30, too excited to eat at home. He ordered café con leche and a magdalena to eat while he waited.
It was an hour after their agreed time when his agent arrived, late as usual, and he explained what Real Madrid wanted to offer. Looking over the agreement, he noticed that Real was willing to pay Atletico 10 million euros for his services. However, there was something fishy about the offer. None of the terms seemed to be beneficial to him.
“Are you sure that’s it?” Leo asked his agent.
“Yes. That’s all,” his agent says. “Look kid, you’re young and you don’t have much experience yet. Madrid is looking for a replacement for Dani Carvajal. And you’re not at that level yet. I don’t expect you to be at Real for more than a couple of years.”
Leo grit his teeth. This was not supposed to be what an agent should do. An agent should take care of his talent. He should find the best terms on his behalf. He couldn’t believe that this was all his agent could get him, not with THE Zinedine Zidane flitting in and out of the Atletico director’s office for more than a week. He told his agent he would bring the proposition home to read. In reality, he was thinking of calling someone.
As soon as he got home, he picked up the telephone and dialed that person.
“Taking me up on the agent offer, kiddo?” his uncle answered on the first ring.
Leo was surprised for a second. Then he remembered Sergio still had a lot of connections to Real Madrid. “What do you know?” he asked.
“Almost everything. I spoke with Zidane, you know. He told me what happened. Congratulations, kiddo. But I think you’re being deprived of everything Real Madrid has to offer,” Sergio said.
“That’s what I thought too. Which is why I want you to go over the proposal,” Leo said.
“Wait. So you mean you’re not satisfied with the terms? I thought you gave the terms yourself? That’s what Zidane said. ‘With what this kid is asking, Real is going to have a bargain.’ That’s what El Presidente said, kiddo. Quoted word for word. Straight from the horse’s mouth,” Sergio said. “Who drafted that proposal, by the way?”
“My idiot agent,” Leo said through clenched teeth. Then it dawned on him. He and his agent had been disagreeing a lot last season. More than once, his agent threatened him with leaving but he figured his agent must have seen something in him to hold on to their business partnership. He was probably going to see that the transfer pushes through, get the money, drop Leo like hot cakes and leave him to fend for himself with those shitty terms. It wasn’t even good enough for an amateur footballer. Leo felt he deserved better. He had been playing at Spain’s top league for almost a season now. Although he wasn’t the best (yet, Leo thought), he was good enough to receive better playing terms than this. He really should have taken his godfather’s offer during his 18th birthday party to be his agent. They were both drunk when Sergio told him so he didn’t take him seriously.
“Do you want a new one? Real is willing to give you more, you know. There’s been a lot of buzz about you being the new me. Even I would say so,” Sergio joked.
Leo chuckles. How he wished that were true. He has always admired his father as a footballer. But position wise, his idol had always been Sergio.
Sensing that Leo was thinking hard about it, Sergio offered, “I’m going to the Valdebebas today kiddo. I’ll speak with Zidane to see if we can draft something that would interest you. Free of charge.”
“When are you telling your father about the possible transfer?”
Leo hadn’t thought about that. He was always a good kid. He didn’t do anything his parents wouldn’t approve. And even if he was now 18, he still wanted, scratch that, more than anything, Leo needed his father’s approval on this. What would his father say? How would he react? His excitement for his possible transfer that he had been feeling since his agent’s call immediately subsided. “I’m not sure when or how I would tell him, to be honest,” Leo said.
“Do you want me to help you?” Sergio asked. “I mean, you’d have to tell him yourself, but I can come with you. You know, moral support.”
“I’d love that.”
“No worries, kiddo. You know I’m always there for you, right? I’ll also be there to catch that agent’s job when you fire that idiot,” Sergio laughed. “Just joking.”
“Really Tio, thank you so much. I’ll call you again soon.”
Leo realized it was high time to do what he had thought of doing months ago. He dialed his agent’s number.
He told his parents about the transfer when he and Sergio were able to draft what they both thought was a good exchange deal. Sergio sat beside him as his dad pored over the papers on the kitchen table, brows knitted. A good ten minutes passed before Fernando looks up.
“Is this it?” he asked. There was no hint of emotion in his voice.
“Should we add something else?” Leo said. He and Sergio shared worried looks.
Slowly Fernando smiled. “No, it’s perfect.”
Leo gave out a loud sigh of relief.
“We thought you’d be mad,” Sergio said.
“Should I be?” Fernando raised an eyebrow at Sergio who laughed in reply
“You don’t even need hide the fact that you’re a Real Madrid fan now,” Fernando said, turning to Leo. He gave his father his best bitch face. “Don’t you even think of throwing me that face, young man. I perfected that when I was your age.”
Leo laughed. “How did you know about me liking Real?”
“First of all, you never watch Madrid derbies with us but I you hide inside your room with the TV tuned to the game, shouting as if you were the referee. Second, you watch all their match replays on TV,” his dad said pointedly.
“That’s because they replay Real and Barcelona matches all of the time,” he explained.
“Third, you hate El Clasico with a passion. Seeing as you don’t watch any Barcelona matches, I assumed you were rooting for Madrid.”
“Well, I live here in Madrid, don’t I?”
“Yeah, but there’s one more thing.” Fernando met Sergio’s eyes and winked. “Your godfather told me.”
“Whaaat?” Leo gave Sergio another one of his bitchfaces.
“Awwww. Sorry kiddo. It was just so amusing to see you hide all your madridisimo from us.” Sergio hugged him. “And don’t think I’ll fall for that face either,” he whispered in Leo’s ear. “I’ve seen enough of that from your dad, I’m already immune.”
Leo giggled. He could never get angry at his godfather. He nuzzled his face into Sergio’s chest like a five year old.
At the last day of training for the season, Zidane was present. All his team mates now knew that Leo was the transfer target. It had been whispered in the hallways since Alejandro Curras revealed he didn’t have any offers from Real Madrid and Leo was called multiple times in the President’s office. He had no doubts everyone was watching his every move. His team mates all hugged him after their session, anticipating his leaving. After everyone left, Zidane met him right where they first acknowledged each other.
“Hello again, Leo.”
This time Leo was mentally prepared. “Hello, sir. Did you want to speak with me?”
“Yes. It’s such a pity that today might be your last day with Atletico, no? But I hope it is. Have you and your new agent agreed on the terms yet? “
“We’ve discussed it.”
“And?” Zidane’s face suddenly betrayed the eagerness he must have been hiding earlier.
“Do you want to talk about it at the Valdebebas?”
Zidane gave him a big smile. “Sure, Leo. In fact Sergio is actually at the training grounds, waiting for you to get there.”
Sure enough, Sergio was waiting just outside the President’s office, chatting with Xabi Alonso, the assistant manager for the first team and twins Jose and Juanmi Callejon, the manager and assistant manager for Castilla (whoever was manager and assistant, Leo wasn’t sure).
Within the hour, Leo has signed the contract and toured the place. He didn’t think he needed the tour, really. He had been here several times as a player for Atletico’s youth teams and the few times when Sergio showed him around when he was younger. But now, he realized that this was going to be different. The Ciudad Real Madrid and the Santiago Bernabeu were going to be his home now. His dream was becoming a reality.
His presentation was scheduled on the first day of July. A few days after his signing, he was asked what number he wanted to wear on his jersey. He said he didn’t have any as his number at Atletico, 6, was already taken by Jorge Gonzalez. I guess we’ll just assign you a random number then, the equipment manager told him.
Fernando and Olalla were present during his presentation. Sergio was also in the audience, beaming with pride. Leo had always been special to him, the eternal bachelor. Never attached to any girl long enough for him to want to marry. But he always cared when it came to Leo. He was a second father to Leo. He treated him like a son and a friend.
Which was why Leo was trying not to tear up when his jersey was presented to him. It had the number 15 on it. It was the number Sergio wore in the Spanish national team when they won the World Cup for the first time. He couldn’t believe it. He looked over at his dad but his head was turned to Sergio, smiling. He knows, Leo thought.
Sergio looked back up at Leo and mouthed, “You deserve it, kiddo.”
Leo let a tear fall.
He was now in front of the large double doors that were the entrance to the gym. Two people were already inside, riding the stationary bikes and talking to each other. They both stopped when they noticed Leo. It was Real’s 2 other summer signings, both legacies to the club.
“Hi,” he greeted them.
“’Hello,” one with short curly brown hair replied.
“’Sup. You’re Leo Torres right?” the second one started, offering his hand for Leo to shake. “Nice to meet you. I’m…”
“… Luca Leite, I know.” Leo took it. The second boy nodded. “And you must be Cristiano.” Leo said to the first boy, holding out his hand to him too.
“Call me Cris Jr.,” he replied, shaking Leo’s hand. “We’re waiting for Enzo.”
“Enzo? Oh, da Silva. Wow. You three are legacies,” Leo said.
“What about you? You’re practically one yourself,” Luca said.
“Not really, my dad was at…”
“… Atletico,” Cris Jr. interrupted. “We know. But you’re Sergio Ramos’ godson so I guess that’s almost the same thing.”
“I guess.” He smiled at them both. “This is going to be the season of legacies.”
“At least half of the squad members are. It’s going to be a hell lot of pressure but I’ll be happy if we can play at least half the level of our fathers,” Chris said.
“Me too,” Luca agreed.
They fell silent, contemplating on the huge expectations they had to achieve. It lasted for a little while, at least until a boy with big hair bounced into the gym with an equally big smile and said to them in his loudest voice, “Hey boys! Let’s get ready to rumbleeeeeeee!”
Leo, Chris and Luca couldn’t help but burst into laughter.