The Amazing Story Of One American Fan’s Whirlwind Tour As Part Of Real Madrid

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Written By Chris Azzopardi

Grant Wahl of Sports Illustrated has an amazing story up today about one American’s journey to the Bernabeu and how being in the right place at the right time led to his rubbing elbows with some of the world’s biggest football names. The man in question is Abel Rodriguez, a floor waxer from Los Angeles. After several years volunteering at Real Madrid’s US preseason training sessions in LA, he decided to make the trek to Spain to achieve his dream of attending a Clasico. What happened next is truly amazing.

Abel arrived in Madrid with no ticket to the game, and worse, no place to stay. He sat on the roadside outside of the Bernabeu for five hours. Then…serendipity.

“It was a miracle that I saw him,” Mourinho said. “I saw Abel seated on the road outside the training ground. I was leaving in my assistant Rui Faria’s car, and there are always a lot of people outside. But I told Rui, ‘Stop! It’s the guy from Los Angeles.’”

“Amigo! What are you doing here?” Mourinho asked.

“I came to visit you guys,” Rodríguez replied. “It’s my first time in Europe, and my dream has been to come and see games. I was hoping to see El Clásico.”

After Abel told Jose his predicament, Mourinho set him up in Real Madrid’s luxury hotel and got him a ticket for the game. At dinner the night before the game, Mourinho told Rodriguez his trip wouldn’t end with El Clasico.

“I told him, ‘No way, you come to Manchester with us and work as a kit man,’” Mourinho said. “‘You help us and you live a bigger dream, a Champions League match from the inside!’”

Rodriguez told Mourinho he’s love to, but that he would naturally pay for everything. Mourinho’s response? A bucketful of awesome.

Mourinho shook his head and smiled. “When you’re with me in Europe, you don’t pay for s—.”


Rodriguez would end up in Manchester, and had many more amazing experiences during his dream stint as part of Real Madrid’s staff. You can even catch a glimpse of him in this video from the tunnel before game at the :31 mark.

After the game, Rodriguez received a signed game-worn shirt from Chicarito, helped Marcelo swap shirts with Robin Van Persie, and did other insanely amazing things that make the rest of us super duper jealous.

Read the whole story at Sports Illustrated. The photo of Rodriguez sitting on a couch with a lounging Mourinho is worth it all by itself.

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