An institutional act of homage, they call it. Sergio Ramos got one last year. Marcelo had one earlier this summer. So did Raul back in the day.
The latest to be granted this honour by Real Madrid is Casemiro, who was feted on Monday morning before departing for Manchester United — another great club, but one where, these days, famous players tend to arrive in a blaze of glory, only to leave under a dark cloud.
Ramos was Real’s formidable club captain, an icon of their modern era, but he was 35, a fading force, by the time his contract expired and he left for Paris Saint-Germain. Similar can be said of Marcelo, 34, who is yet to join a new club.
Casemiro is only 30 — still worthy, at least in United’s eyes, of a minimum €60million (£50.9m, $60m) transfer fee and a minimum four-year contract on almost double his previous salary — and it was never Real’s intention to sell him until he informed them last week he had been made an offer he couldn’t refuse.
But he, too, leaves with the Spanish club’s blessing. Not at Real’s behest, but ultimately on terms they are happy to accept.
At another club, it would have caused a meltdown. An icon of the team, a five-time Champions League winner, stating his desire to pursue a new challenge. When you regard yourself as the biggest club in world football, how do you deal with that?
In the case of United and Cristiano Ronaldo, you panic. Because you have spent the past 12 months in thrall to the player and, despite his body language and his demeanour for large chunks of last season, you didn’t see it coming. You are left in a daze for the next two months, not least because the player is still waiting for a credible escape route to emerge. He’s 37 years old. He just wants out.
Or, in the case of Real and Casemiro, you take a deep breath, you smile and you decide to grant him his wish because he’s the wrong side of 30 (just, having passed that milestone six months ago), because his performance level isn’t quite what it was and, most significantly of all, because his successor is already at the club.