A story that began in cramped Lisbon dormitories will see one of its final chapters on the majestic turf of the Santiago Bernabeu.
Cristiano Ronaldo left his home on the island of Madeira as a 12-year-old boy to launch his football career with Sporting Lisbon.
But he ended up conquering the world and never came home, instead welcoming the Portuguese giants to his new Bernabeu home as one of football’s all-time greats.
And it promises to be an emotional occasion for the 31-year-old, who had always planned to return but is set to shortly sign a long-term deal that will see him end his career in Madrid.
“Of course it will be special for him,” Zinedine Zidane said of this emotional clash for his star player.
“It’s his club. He was made there.”
Sir Alex Ferguson said of Ronaldo that he arrived at Manchester United a boy and left as a man.
In which case, he joined Sporting as a infant.
“It was very traumatic to leave my family,” recalls Ronaldo of the experience.
“I had never even been on an aeroplane before.
“There were a lot of tears in my first few weeks in Lisbon. Madeira is so small, I couldn’t believe the traffic and noise of a capital city. About 10 of us lived in a room inside the Sporting Lisbon stadium.
“In the beginning, nobody could understand me because of my accent and I couldn’t understand them either. It was awful.”
19 years and countless trophies later, Ronaldo is a defending European champion for the third time and fully focused on the task at hand, according to his manager.
“He is very professional and he will always gives his all,” says Zidane.
“He will be completely focused from the first minute.”
And he will still be playing at the last minute, it seems.
Ronaldo suffered at the end of last season after playing so much in the early part of the campaign. He just about won a race to be fit for the Champions League final, but was visibly under-par at Euro 2016 and was stretchered off during the final.
Yet despite the 31-year-old only having 66 minutes under his belt since returning from injury, Zidane suggested his number 7 would play 90 minutes tonight.
“He is ready to play, he wants to play and this is good. We’ll see in time.
“The idea is that he plays all 90 minutes, but we’ll see, anything can happen during a game.
“I always think about the 60 days he was out for, which is a lot for a player, this competition is very tough.”
“I speak with Cristiano about other things, not how many minutes he’ll play. because if you ask him then he’ll tell you 90.”
Against Sporting, he will be more motivated than ever to put on a show.