To all fans who wish your favourite player would give you his jersey once:
I still cannot believe, what has happened to me, but I can prove you, there is hope. On Thursday, 7/3/13, I went to the Europe League match between VFB Stuttgart and SS Lazio with my best friend Wiebke. I have admired Stefano Mauri, captain of SS Lazio, for years now and he’s my idol (it’s a longer story and it’s not, what I want to talk about right now).
Wiebke and me, we managed get tickets to sit right behind the goal of the guest team (Lazio) in the first row, so we were right next to the pitch and were not part of the guest stands. Also, we had a bright blue (Lazio’s colour) poster with us, that I had drawn before. It read “Stefano Mauri, for you I would have come by bike, give me your jersey, plese! :)” in his mother tongue. (The sentence rhymes in Italian:)
VFB Stuttgart’s colours are bright red and white, so our poster was a real contrast to the red chairs we were sitting on. So was my own Mauri jersey, that I once had bought at a shop, and the bright silverish pullover of my friend. As you can see, we tried to be as noticable as possible. For that cause, we also went to the stadium very early. We wanted to see the players coming to the pitch for the first time and to be not yet surrounded by other fans.
Whenever someone of SS Lazio was seen on the pitch before the match started, we showed the poster to them. There were several players in training kits, the coach, team managers and ground keepers. Also Federico Marchetti, the goalkeeper of Lazio, came to have a look at the goal, which was only 10 meters from us. We always held up the poster, because we hoped someone would notice it and maybe tell Mauri about it. And that’s, what they did. I still do not know your name, but I thank you with all my heart, dear member of the team staff: One of the Italians had spotted the blue colour, when he passed right in front of us and told us to show it to him, what we did. He than asked (all in Italian), whether we came from Stuttgart and we told him honestly, that we were from Hamburg, north of Germany. He smiled and nodded and than went off, back to the benches and the mixed zone, still talking to Maurizio Manzini, the team manager, he was walking around with. Right at the moment he reached the benches, I noticed Mauri leaving the tunnel and stepping onto the field, still dressed in his suit and wearing ear phones. (I floated with happiness by only seeing him from that far, you know…)
The member of the staff talked to him for a moment, pointed at us (we were on the other side of the stadium) and Mauri also looked at our direction. He seemed to notice the blue colour and came nearer, because, as I think, he could not read the whole poster from that far. He approched us a little, than stopped a second, turned around and left the pitch. I can tell you, that I wasn’t disappointed that he left, but endlessly happy because he acutually noticed me!!
Some moments later, Mauri turned up again, holding a little plastic bag. He walked on the sideline in our direction, taking out his ear phones (our conversation: Wiebke: He’s not actually bringing you his jersey, is he. - me: Well, he’s in fact holding something…) And he did. He actually did. He approched us, could not get through the net, which keeps misplaced footballs away from the fans in the stands, but gave the little bag to one of the guards, that were in front of us. He was only three meters from me! While my friend was holding the poster, I recieved the bag with - tadaa!!! - the jersey and smiled at him happily. I cannot say, how often I screamed my thank to him, but he only smiled, nodded and left somewhat later, went back to the benches. When I took out the jersey and put it on, he had already sat down again. But I could tell from his posture, that he was still looking at Wiebke and me. When I waved my armes in thankfulness, he waved back and made me the happiest fan on earth. Thank you so much, Stef.
Marco Cassetti, Roma v Lazio, Serie A, 6 December 2009