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Travel and football, by Patricia Almarcegui

There was a time when I traveled to watch football. I have forgotten many things, but I remember being in Andorra (Teruel), Gorizia


There was a time when I traveled to watch football. I have forgotten many things, but I remember being in Andorra (Teruel), Gorizia, Soria, Lorca, Lérida, Madrid, Santander, Barcelona, ​​Caspe, Castellón, Zaragoza and Udine. I remember Milan better. Perhaps because of the image of the list of pizzas hanging on the wall written in thick blue marker. I wanted the same one I had at the Da Baffetto restaurant in Rome, sausage, onion and mushroom, but the waiter offered me to try the house specialties better: Van Basten, Gullit and Rijkaard.

I lived in the Italian capital, I was almost a teenager and a dancer, and when I met up with friends we would go to that pizzeria near Piazza Navona. She there she enjoyed the lost juice of the onion that wrapped the fresh sausage, mixed with the scattered bits of meat and that she had not eaten for years. The restaurant that had made the three great Milan footballers some pizzas (and that I didn’t get to try) was in Bergamo or maybe in Mestre, I can’t remember anymore. But it was not in Milan, because we had decided to avoid the city as much as possible, as well as not going by car.

“I can’t go any further”, said the taxi that took us from the station and left us in the surroundings of the stadium. Teenagers came, lots of teenagers, and parents with children and a great murmur. Now I get confused and I don’t know if I’m on the outskirts of Agadir in a traffic jam on a Sunday between motorcycles and families dodging cars to go see the Hassania Union Sport match or at the entrance to the Tehran soccer field in the Jafar Panahi movie Offside. But I do remember that they sold scarves and wigs with black braids imitating Ruud Gullit’s dreadlocks, and that access was very slow.

They opened my backpack and didn’t let me in with the bottle of water. The boy in front had his wig removed and they looked at him under his braids. We were in the area that had been reserved for Real Madrid spectators and the rest of the San Siro stadium clamored. The field was green and distant and far in the background, our site, a spot among 80,000 spectators. We greet a father with his son about 12 years old sitting on the left. They had arrived the day before. Traveling from Madrid to Milan to see the game, and the stadium clamored. I don’t know when the boy started crying, but there was a moment when he put his face in his father’s lap and cried, so hard and to my left, that I heard him between the game and turned to comfort him.

When the match ended, we wanted to go to the hotel where Real Madrid was staying to greet the player who had given us the tickets, and also to thank him, but leaving the stadium was impossible. “Go by metro directly to the station as soon as possible and try to return to Rome”, someone advised us. The victory celebration had not yet begun, and the fascist-art deco architecture of Milano Centrale, Milan Central’s train station, was empty. Who would want to leave the city on a day of the European Cup semi-final in which Milan had beaten Real Madrid 5-0.