In the current era of sports, star players joining together to create “super teams” has become commonplace, especially in sports like basketball, where NBA teams have turned the summer into Arms Race Season. This concept–of multiple stars joining one team in search of trophies–is far from foreign in soccer, where teams have looked to dominate by stockpiling superstars on their rosters for some time now. The most iconic side of the “super teams” era was the early 2000s collections of legends at Real Madrid, as assembled by former-and-current president Florentino Pérez.
Under Pérez, Real instituted a Galácticos policy, which boiled to being aggressive in the transfer market in order to bring players with brand-name recognition. This policy saw them bring in talents like Luís Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo, and David Beckham in the early part of the 21st century.
The Galácticos won two La Liga championships in this era, along with the Champions League in 2002. Although they never appeared to live up to the expectations–the talent didn’t fit perfectly, and the egos clashed to the detriment of team success–the iconic era is a time that the players involved will never forget.
Speaking with ESPN Brazil’s Bola Da Vez, Cicinho, who spent the 2006-07 season with Real Madrid, talked about his time at the club, albeit at the tail end of the Galácticos era. Of note is the time he introduced himself to David Beckham by spilling juice all over the English star’s expensive suit.
“My first meeting was in the orientation. I arrived during the orientation, to (get to) know the group. I didn’t play at this time. Roberto Carlos already reserved the seat, it was a rectangular table. One part were the Spaniards, the other part were the foreigners but Sergio Ramos sat with us. He was very friendly with us. So they put Beckham, me, Robinho, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo and Zidane. So I took the juice and I spilled it. It fell on Beckham’s leg, his suit. I lowered my head and thought, Oh God, why? Could be anyone, but it had to be the guy that really cares about the way he looks? I didn’t know him, never met him but he said ‘Calm down, no problem’. I thought he would be my best friend,” said the Brazilian with a laugh.
Cicinho’s entire interview is worth the watch, if only for a unique perspective on one of the most covered eras of world soccer. Where else will you hear the story of Beckham sending someone to his personal stylist, only for that player to be saddled with a 25,000 euro bill?