Diego Milito, the former Inter star striker who now plays for his boyhood team Racing Club back in Argentina, is the coolest. All it took was the following story, about "The Prince," one fan, rosary beads, and two shocking championships spaced 13 years apart, to convince us that it's true.
Pablo Delpiero, the fan in question, tells his story with Milito in a Twitlonger post, but we'll summarize it a bit here. As a young man in 2001, Delpiero was a diehard Racing fan that often travelled with the team. Towards the end of the 2001 Clausura campaign, his club needed positive results in their final three matches to stave off relegation.
Ahead of the first of the final three matches, Delpiero and some other fans visited a church in San Nicolas to pray to the Virgin Mary. The fans all asked Mary to bless their team, keeping them in the first division and wishing for a positive future. In addition, Delpiero decided to buy a rosary there, which he'd give to one of the players when he returned.
The next day after pre-game training, Delpiero waited by the locker room when two young Racing players emerged. Delpiero decided then to give the rosary to the 21-year-old Milito, telling him to keep it as a good luck charm. Milito accepted it.
The striker wasn't selected in the starting lineup that day, but did come on as a sub and scored the equalizing goal, which brought Delpiero and the handful of Racing fans that had travelled away with the team into raptures. The Racing player and fan ran into each other the next day, and Milito thanked him for his new lucky charm. The next season, in the 2001 Apertura, Racing—historically one of Argentina's biggest clubs, they had gone through quite a winning drought—won their first league title since 1966.
Delpiero came into contact with Milito one other time a couple years later, though they didn't interact with each other. Soon, the striker they called "The Prince" was off to Europe, where he thrived most famously with Real Zaragoza in Spain and later José Mourinho's treble-winning Inter team in Italy.
Fast forward to this season. Milito came back to Argentina from Europe, returning to Racing. Now, Delpiero had a job with the team and thus was around the players every day. Upon the prodigal son's return, Delpiero wondered if Milito remembered their interaction over a decade ago, but was too shy to ask outright. When they did happen upon each other, Delpiero noted that Milito greeted him with a vague recognition that he seemed unable to quite place.
One day, Delpiero decided enough was enough and he should just go ahead and ask the man about their past. From his Twitlonger, via Google Translate:
Not long ago I approached and said: "Diego, I can do you ask a question?" To which he replied: "Are you going to ask about the rosary?"
... Oooof imagine what happened in my head in that moment, I always had this [memory], but he, the star, the champion of everything, DIEGO MILITO himself.
He told me that from the moment I gave it to him, he always had it with him, that it had accompanied him throughout his career, that at each training session he had it on his nightstand. For me, every word he said was increasingly amazing, they exceeded even the stories I imagined and told my friends.
He may have noticed from my face that what he told me was a lot, too much, and he said to me "You do not believe me?" "YUP!" I replied, stunned. "Tomorrow we'll come to training and I'll bring it." We left and he went into the locker room.
The next day, I waited like never before, like the fans who come every day to treasure those five minutes they store in their memory, like they were little boys again. After the photos and signatures, he approached me and said, "Come, here it is." He opened his bag, took out his Botinero, and there was the rosary, the one I had given him 13 years ago in Santa Fe. In that moment I did not doubt him and said for the first time: "Diego, can you take a photo with the rosary?" We took the photo, as to immortalize that moment, to finish my story of "Milito and the Rosary" with an ending that would have never have been imagined.
The photo at the top, from Delpiero's Twitter, shows a picture of him with Milito during his first stint with Racing, one from their recent reunion, and another of a signed jersey Milito later gave him as a thank you. Milito sounds like just a good dude.
H/t Rob Brown