A familiar tune blared through the stadium sound system earlier this week as New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera made his way to the pitch at the ballpark prior to last night's Real Madrid-A.C. Milan match.
The injured pitcher was once again welcomed by Metallica's "Enter The Sandman" as he has been in the past while putting out the finishing touch in the ninth inning over the course of what's been a Hall of Fame career.
Rivera, who tore his ACL while shagging fly balls during batting practice at Kansas City on May 3, got a chance to conduct the pregame coin flip at the sold out Yankee Stadium as A.C. Milan's Massimo Ambrosini and Real Madrid's Iker Casilla looked on.
Rivera had also performed the honors last month when Chelsea met Paris Saint-German at Yankee Stadium in an international friendly.
It was sort of a meeting between America's pastime and the world's beautiful game.
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For Rivera, the exhibition definitely didn't disappoint him and the 49,407 fans as Cristiano Ronaldo scored two goals and Kaka had three assists to lead Real Madrid to a 5-1 victory over A.C. Milan in the friendly.
"It was a good game. I had a good time," Rivera told Fox News Latino after a lengthy postgame visit with the Spanish league champions.
"It was a special experience in that we were able to share a good time as a family."
While some coaches pull out their stars after the first half in the majority of these friendlies, Madrid coach José Mourinho wanted to keep Cristiano Ronaldo out on the pitch for as long as he could. He lauded the match's atmosphere which was lively from the get-go and went as far as saying that his team wouldn't lose at match at home if last night's liveliness equaled that of the Bernabeu.
“The stadium was demanding that. Historical stadium. Historical opponent. Full stadium. Great support. And the best way to promote the game is to play like we did tonight. I think Cristiano is part of the show, part of what people want to see,” Mourinho said.
“There was lots of magic here, and I think we gave the stadium what it deserved. If I have this kind of crowd, this enthusiastic crowd in (our home stadium), I don’t lose a match in (our home stadium) because these people were fantastic.”