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Just Milan?



He said to me, “Oh come on, it’s just Milan.” I’m not sure if there were words after that or not, because I had already turned my back and walked away forever. Everyone who knows me knows that it’s never “just Milan” for me. I don’t even know how I ever lived not knowing about Milan, because the red and black coursing through my veins breathes life into me and keeps me going through thick and thin. It is not just my passion, it is literally my life. And I get that my coworkers or acquaintances may not understand that, but people close to me do. Or they’re not going to be close to me. And that’s why I walked away from him.

It probably sucks to get dumped for a football team, but it is Milan, after all

He could never understand how it was to watch the strength of Baresi, captain both spiritually and tactically, even if I only saw the very end of his playing days. He was always focused, always knew where his opponents were, and was always there for his teammates. He led by example, a calm fortress that was always moving, ever protecting. Watching him play was like watching a tiger in motion, he was strong, swift, and made no mistake when he went in for the tackle. I don’t know if I’ll ever see another player quite like him. How could anyone say Baresi was “just Milan?”

He certainly had no idea what it was like watching the elegance of Maldini. The Milan hero dispossessed his opponents as if they were little children. Every bit the graceful artist as he was the respected general, his breathtaking tackles were as beautiful to watch as the most beautiful of goals from the best strikers. But he didn’t even have to tackle as often as most defenders do, because he read the game so perfectly and was always marking his opponents so well. Whether at left back or at center back, he was like a brilliant diamond amongst mere granite, with crossing and passes most players could only dream of. His authority on the pitch was unquestioned, with leadership that was as innate as it was genetic. Except his legend as both player and captain is perhaps even bigger than his father’s. How in the world could anyone say that Paolo Maldini was “just Milan?”

My everything

As with all of life, Milan has had its ups and downs. But breathing and bleeding Milan through good times and in bad is all I know. Having survived Milan players from Digao to Traoré, Cerci to Matri, clearly this is not “just Milan” for me. But I also got to watch players like Shevchenko, Kaká, Costacurta, Nesta, Inzaghi, Pirlo, Ibrahimovic, and so many, many more. Through trophies and trials, ecstatic wins and earth-shattering losses, my relationship with Milan has become communal. I can’t change who I am, and I wouldn’t want to. Because it’s never been “just Milan” to me.

So yeah, I walked away, and I never looked back. I thought he understood who I was when we met, given the undeniable presence of red and black in my home décor, clothing, and basically everything I own. Or the way that I could turn any conversation to Milan, and consistently did. I thought that the sacred nature of game times and the constant lack of sleep that came with them would give him some kind of clue. Maybe he just thought I was another dumb fangirl, or even just an average fan. But he was wrong, and now I’m gone. Because Milan isn’t just a hobby or a passing interest or a diversion with pretty colors. It’s how I think, what I breathe, and part of my very essence. There are a lot of dumb things men say to lose a woman, but all he needed were two words: “just Milan.”


This post inspired by the music of Ludo’s “Good Will Hunting By Myself”