Nearly five million UK residents watched Barcelona win the Champions League on Saturday evening. Europe's new kings have done a stellar job on the field in 2015, treating football fans to as close to footballing perfection as most can contemplate.
But as Xavi held that trophy aloft, a certain emptiness was soon to follow for us mere-mortals. The club football calendar now enters hibernation, footballers jet off on their holidays and we as fans wait in baited breath for the new season.
Sure, there's the Women's World Cup, the Euro Under-21 Championship and the Copa America this month to help fill the void - but it's just not the same. A large section of players take their time out of the spotlight, instead able to spend their time at home with the family before pre-season starts.
Mind you, even while nothing's particularly going on, newspapers still need to sell and websites still need to generate traffic. There's no media off season. But there is one footballing topic that takes a front seat - one that won't dissipate throughout the year - though it'll repeatedly bash you across the head until you're begging for submission in the summer months.
It's transfer silly season, of course.
Like it or not, you'll get bombarded with ridiculous stories about a player's next club. You'll get duped into that click-bait link indicating the completion of a transfer, when all that's actually happened is someone's been spotted at an airport. Hundreds of players will 'sign' for Manchester United. Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo will be the first two, joining in a world-record-breaking double deal.
Real Madrid will sign the Premier League's best player (okay, that one is usually true) and Arsenal will huff and puff about signing a player in a key position. Manchester City will once again fall victim to the 'English player tax' and Liverpool will try to sign a ton of names with the intention of winning next season's Premier League title - only to end up losing one of their best players.
While all of those possibilities could well become reality (with the exception of the United story, let's be real now) there's more speculation in the air than any of us will care to appreciate. We all moan about it, and we're the first ones to dismiss stories as complete rubbish when they come hot off the press.
Invariably, 95% (that's very loose maths, by the way) of rumoured transfers end up with no pay off. That's in spite of the ever-reliable Metro and Express websites telling us that transfers are completed in their headlines - only for us to read on and find out that the story is actually based on precisely no evidence.
Sites of a similar ilk exist across Europe, too. On Monday, Tuttomercatoweb published a story that Paris Saint Germain frontman Zlatan Ibrahimovic was ready to pack his bags and complete a move to Arsenal or Liverpool. But while some stories go without response, the Swede's agent, Mino Raiola (who himself isn't shy of a fib or two) responded publicly to quash the speculation.
He told Journal du Dimanche: "He has a contract and cannot just decide to leave by himself. President Nasser Al-Khelaifi was asked about this and said no, PSG will not sell Ibrahimovic."
But while they never fail to frustrate us, we'd not be without them. They're the fuel that keeps our passion for the game alight throughout these desperate summer months. They keep us excited, they make us wonder what our respective teams will look like on the opening day of next season. They're completely necessary, no matter how ridiculous or close to the truth they may be.
Transfer rumours spark interest. Each one, though you'll "not believe it unless it's on Sky Sports" makes you think of the hypothetical, and it whets your appetite for another solid year of footballing brilliance - even if sometimes it's not that obvious.
That big kick off may seem an eternity away - and it is, in all honesty. But while you're sunning yourself up on holiday or confused about what to do on the weekends now there's no Soccer Saturday to keep you occupied, just remember that as a football fan - transfer speculation is a necessary part of the ride.
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