Chinese fan to make documentary on Roberto Baggio

By  Tan Yingzi in Chongqing(chinadaily.com.cn)
Updated: 2017-02-17 16:12:51

 

Liu Rui and Roberto Baggio pose for a photo. [Photo/provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Liu Rui, a young man in southwest China's Chongqing, shares the same birthday (Feb 18) of the world famous soccer player Roberto Baggio, and the same passion for soccer.

Two years ago when he journeyed to Italy, Liu decided to make a documentary about the trip to share it with Baggio's fans in time for the Italian soccer star's 50th birthday Sunday.

As a huge Baggio fan since his childhood, Liu, 37, made a special trip to Italy in 2015, visiting every club Baggio has played with and every Italian city where he's stayed. If he got lucky, he would meet Baggio in person.

"It is a salute to my idol," he said. "He has a huge influence on my life."

Baggio has played for seven different Italian clubs during his career: Vicenza, Fiorentina, Juventus, Milan, Bologna, Internazionale and Brescia.

Liu's first stop was Brescia, where Baggio scored 200 goals in Serie Ain 2004 during the final season of his career.

Fortunately, he was allowed onto the field of the club's stadium. "I knelt down and kissed the turf where Baggio played his last," he recalled.

Then he visited the cities of Milan, Bologna, Turin and Florence and looked for everything related to the Italian star. But he still didn't have a clue where Baggio was.

At last, he tried his luck in Vicenza, where the player started his professional career.

To his surprise, the hotel boss told him that Baggio lives in one of the villages near in the city. With a help of a Chinese student he met in a local bar, Liu found Baggio's home.

After waiting for about eight hours outside the house from 9 am, Liu finally saw the familiar figure he has watched thousands of times on TV.

"I was so excited and almost forgot the words I had prepared to speak to him," he said. "I told him I was a huge fan from China, shared the same birthday as his and we were both born in the Year of the Sheep."

Liu recalled that Baggio laughed and said, "so you are my Chinese brother."

Liu then gave Baggio a letter and a string of Buddhist prayer beads. In China, the Italian player is known for his Buddhist beliefs and melancholy personality.

"The Baggio I saw that day was so happy and I felt like I was in the sunshine," said Liu, who runs a youth soccer training camp in Chongqing

"After meeting him, my passion for soccer rekindled and I determined to continue my career in soccer," Liu said.

Liu Rui visits every club Baggio has played with and every Italian city where he's stayed.[Photo/provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Liu Rui visits every club Baggio has played with and every Italian city where he's stayed.[Photo/provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Liu Rui visits every club Baggio has played with and every Italian city where he's stayed.[Photo/provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

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