Jerseys - Trophies made of polyester - Sport
Milan Meinert, 14, travels to football matches and collects player jerseys. He already has 87 pieces.
Milan Meinert still remembers it as yesterday. That's not just written down, he actually has all the details in mind from that day in September 2018. How he's googled, which means "Please give me your shirt" in French. How he then painted the poster, and how Kylian Mbappé actually came to him at this international match in the Munich Arena to give him his shirt. "I thought first, he does not see me," says Milan, "but then he came around the corner." And now he has Mbappé's jersey.
If you take it seriously, Mbappé's jersey is not just a jersey - it's a trophy. A trophy made of one hundred percent polyester, the stuff dreams are made of.
A warm Thursday lunchtime in June, a multi-family house in a backyard in Zirndorf-Weiherhof, just a few miles away from the SpVgg Greuther Fürth stadium. Milan sits on a big couch with his mother Catja and tells of a Fürth friendly four years ago, a 1-5 draw against Celta Vigo, one of the first games he ever saw. The result alone could have shaken his fascination for the match, but it did not detract from it - after all, it's the emotion that brings man and club together, not the game itself.
Now Milan says: "I got my first jersey from Goran Sukalo against Celta Vigo." The first of 87, a large collection that is not big enough for him yet. "If I always make one hundred in the next three or four years," says Milan, "and it goes on like that every year, then in 40 years I'll have about ..." He breaks off the sentence and thinks. Then his mother Catja says: "But he would not give a single one."
Milan leads from the living room to an adjoining room, to a clothes rail, where the shirts of Mbappé, Sukalo and all the others hang. For the players, the jerseys, which are kept there, are indeed protected, nothing more than work clothes, for Milan they are: achievements - and life content. "Later, I want to become a club employee," says Milan, "Fürth is best, and players are always nice and wear jerseys, and you're allowed down the field." Milan has a high voice, he is a skinny boy, it is unseen to him that he is already 14. Hardly any of the jersey suits him, not even that of the graceful Julian Green, who once sent him a national jersey with the dedication "For Milan" by mail.
Now it hangs here, in addition to all the other jerseys, worn by the players and not washed, the tainted shirt of Dusseldorf Rouwen Hennings is particularly easy to recognize. It can be seen, and you can convince yourself that it is also to smell.
Football is nothing more than a game, a triviality. It only becomes meaningful when it looks beyond the field when it tells a story, like that of Milan.
The Meinerts do not have the money in abundance. Milan's mother is a single parent and raises the rent and all the stadium visits with her educator salary. "Gasoline, the tickets, drinks: That's going to start," she says, "but I support Milan because it's a good stop for him, a nice job."
As last on a Sunday afternoon at the end of May. Milan is kneeling in front of his seat in a train compartment, on the regional express on his way to Munich, a poster almost as tall as himself, in front of him on the floor, a red felt-tip pen in his hand. He paints the letters in capital letters: "Alphonso Davies. Please give me your jersey." And an alternative in case Davies does not want to get his jersey out: "Otschi Wriedt, please give me your jersey." The rise game between the second team of FC Bayern and VfL Wolfsburg is on, the Bayern have lost the first leg 1: 3, in the second leg win then 4: 1 and climb to the third division, but Milan is empty. Davies does not even come to the fence on which he climbed, Wriedt does not pay attention to the poster. For particularly important games, Milan has learned, the chances are bad. The players usually leave their jersey to their family, "and if one plays against his former club, he usually swaps the jersey".
For the next season, says Milan, he has already "made a big list, I have chosen two or three players from each club." For example, the new Leverkusen Moussa Diaby, "a good friend of Kylian," reports Milan. As if this Kylian is a good friend of his.