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The end of an era: Goodbye, Javi

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There are no words to properly tribute Real Salt Lake’s Javier Morales.

Javier Morales
Matt Montgomery

Javier Morales has been among the most influential players to have pulled on the Claret and Cobalt strip for Real Salt Lake in its 12-year history.

Jason Kreis. Nick Rimando. Kyle Beckerman. Javier Morales.

They’re all players synonymous with the crest.

They’re all players who have defined the name, the spirit, the mottos.

We wouldn’t be where we are without them.

And now, Javier Morales is leaving the club. To where, we wonder? We don’t know. There’s a lot we don’t know right now. But what we do know is that Morales, who was a defining player, has left a lasting mark on the organization, helping it turn from an expansion side without hope to a genuine contender for trophies.

That’s not just one trophy, either. He was the creative heartbeat of the team that was mere inches away from winning CONCACAF Champions League in 2011, mere steps away from winning a second MLS Cup in 2013.

He was the player we rallied around in 2011, when a savage tackle took nearly a season out of his career. He was the player that, a year later, was better than he’d ever been. He was timeless, ageless; he drank from the fountain of youth on a weekly basis.

And he’s leaving.

He’s leaving, and his last action for Real Salt Lake was to be substituted in a playoff match against LA Galaxy. It’s not an end to a tenure at a club befitting a legend. It will forever be a dark spot on the franchise, that they couldn’t keep a legend at the club until he hung up his boots.

But that’s not how we have to remember him.

Instead, let’s remember the little things. The chips, the lofted passes, the sublime touch. And let’s remember the big things: The goals, the penalties, the dribbling, the unmatched ability to find a player.

Let’s remember ten years of Javier Morales at Real Salt Lake. Let’s not forget what he meant for the team, the values he instilled, and what he represented.

And finally, let’s not forget Javier Morales, the man.

Godspeed, Javier Morales. You will be missed.