Well, where shall I start?
It has been two days of an emotional rollercoaster with a blindfould. But hey, as a laziale I was well prepared!
Ever since the plane with the team in my heart landed, I have felt like a child again. It has been an amazing experience and all of our tough work when organising The Laziomeeting in Sweden has payed off.
Not in form of cash payment, but in the happy faces of all the swedish laziali I've met and talked to.
And of course, meeting and talking to almost the whole Lazio squad was something amazing, something undefiable...
"Great", "amazing", "fantastic" and "incredible" are only words and they are not strong enough to discribe the feeling it was to talk to Mr. Ballardini about what he thought about Sweden, us fans, the team and his Swedish wife(yeah, we got in to personal stuff aswell!).
To put the whole experience in some kind of chronological order we start whit the arrival to my home of Daniel Korlevski, a good friend of mine how always joins the derbies in Roma. When standing next to eachother in Olimpico, Lazio has never lost a game. He arrived to at tuesday night and we started the "Laziodays" with some nice talk and some drinks.
We talked about our expectations and dreams of Lazio and of the week, but I don't think that anything could prepare us for the day to come...Wednesday:
Me and Daniel got up pretty early to pick up a beautiful banner with the text "Benvenuti SS Lazio"(thanks Pontus for the design), signed by SvenskaFans and LazioFever.
Now we were ready to go to the airport!
I had informed some great laziali friends about the teams arrival at Landvetter(grazie Paolo for the info) and we stod there and just waited for the team to walk out the door. The banner was up and the tension was high. Paolo called and had me ready on the phone to talk to a radioshow whenever the Lazioteam walked out the gate! Everything was set, but no Lazio team ever went trough the gates becouse they got picked up out by the plan! The dissepointment among the swedish laziali was great, but some of us refused to give up!
I called Paolo and asked him what to do and he told me to go to the hotel where I was suppose to deliver a translation of a swedish newsartical to Mr. De Martino, pressmanager of SS Lazio.
After grabbing something fast to eat(Daniel was amazed of how much food I could eat) we yet again sat down in the car and drove for another half an hour to Borås.
At First Hotel Grand I went to the reception and said that I had an appoinment with Mr. De Martino and Mr.Manzini, teammanager.
I waited for while before I met up with Mr. De Martino and we talked for a while about la Lazio and the articel I had helped him with. He was a true gentleman and behave with LazioStyle all the time.
After that, Mr. Manzini came down to us(me, Daniel, Pontus and Arton) and I welcomed him to Sweden by the behalf of SvenskaFans Lazio and LazioFever and offered our help to the team. It was of course a great hounor for me and a unique oppurtunity that many laziali never get to experience. Mr. Manzini was a serious and understanding man and he said that our organisation is unique and impressive.
I exchanged some information about the team's training and access to that and I informed him about how many we were gathered here in Sweden.
They explained to me that us four would be granted access to the hotel and talk, take photos and spend time with the players and of course, we got thrilled!
I truly felt blessed as I saw how people were waiting outside the hotel, while we had this fantastic oppurtunity to be around the players.
The first one we connected with was Kolarov. He was a man with humor we noticed as he made a joke when he saw us later, after our "photosession" with him.
He said:"What are you still doing here, you have already taken a photo whit me, isn't that enough?".
Thanks to Daniel, how was able to talk with him in his own language aswell, I got the expression that he felt rather natural around us.
Then the coolest and nicest man in the squad came down to us, Mr. Ballardini.
His sunglasses was on, what else?
He was very polite and asked us as many questions as we asked him and we stood there talking to him for maybe 8 minutes, but it felt like 5 seconds. For me, this was the best moment during the day.
Mr. Ballardini showed the greatest respect for us and our organisation and he talked a lot about how much he liked Sweden(his wife is from Stockholm, so he problably didn't dare anything else).
We talk a bit about the team and his thoughts around that.
After that, they all came down to us.
Foggia, the man with the best hairstyle seemed to like the Swedish girls(yeah, I know. Who doesn't?)
He wasn't so tall I have to say...
Lichtsteiner is one of my favorite players in Lazio, and I thanked him for the goal in the 4-2 derby and I wondered if he liked to be called "Forrest" nowadays.
He liked the name he said and was pleased with the goal in the derby. Wonderful player!
Matuzalem is the best midfielder Lazio has today. He has all the qualities that he should have and a great heart.
He can't speak english, but luckily he understood my italian and he enjoyed our company. He said that he liked Sweden of what he had seen so far and that the flight to Sweden went smooth and good.
And yes, he was amazed over all the trees in Sweden...
Conclusion: Great player, great person.
Soon after, we stoped a tall, blond man in his best years.
Igli Tare was a man who was very caring. He talked to us for a long while, and specially to Arton(also Albanian).
He answered all of our question in a very serious and respectful way.
Later the same evening, Arton interviewed him for 15 minutes for his Albanian homepage!
A moment after Siviglia showed up with his great proffessional attitude.
Cruz was heading for the bus and listening to music, but also he was a gentleman when he noticed that we would like to take a picture with him.
I also took the chance to welcome him to la Lazio.
Bizzarri was also welcomed to the squad and Lazio by us.
One of the most friendlies players was Qusmane Dabo. He stood and talked for a while and he said that he was impressed by how many and crazy laziali we had here in Sweden.
He asked how many we were going to be at the game tomorrow and I gave him a lot of credit for the penalty in Coppa Italia.
As we stood there talking, I didn't notice as Zaraté went by becouse Dabo was so friendly and "chatty".
Look at Korlevski's face as he discover Zaraté just walking by us!
Muslera, the teenage boy who became a man and the man that developed into one of the best goalkeepers in Serie A, stoped by with his never ending smile(If anyone has seen his girlfriend you know why...).
Dabo seemed to have a lot of fun so he decided to hang out with us for another fotosession. A truly fantastic person!
Muslera was smiling and laughing all the time and was impressed over our organisation here in Sweden. MUSLERA SHA-LA-LA-LA!
Rocchi behaved as a capitano should and it was great to meet him and tell him how much I admire him.
Meghni was the last one out to the training and he seemed to be the only hip-hop lover in the team.
Then we headed for the training with the team(sorry but Arton has all the pics from the training) and it was great. The most fun part was that I meet two italian laziali that I and Pontus was in the same supporterbus as when we watched an awaygame against Bologna last year during the period we lived in Rome. It is always fun to meet old friends!
After this, we headed home. In the car it all came clear to me. I sorted out all my experiences during the day and tried to remember everything I said to the players and staff.
Personally, I have to say that the most amazing thing about the day was the fact that we could walk around and talk to the players, not just take a photo and say "Ciao e grazie". It was a incredible feeling to shake thier hands, introduce myself, look them in the eyes and welcome them to Sweden on the behalf of SvenskaFans and LazioFever.
As I look back upon this day, I realize how fortunate I am to have experince this day and it has left a big, lightblue mark in my heart!
People that know me well often call me crazy and that my relation to Lazio is so strong that it is unhealthy. I don't believe in such nonsens.
La Lazio is more then a team. It is more then just a club. To be a laziale is something special, something that cannot be described.
It is a way of living.
It is a way of feeling.
It is a state of mind.
Perche la Lazio é una fede...
Tomorrow I will return with part two.