It was Champions League Day in Europe, the start of the knock-out stage, and all over the world fans were in awe of the spectacle on television,; the colour, the passion, the uniforms, the spectacle. Well, you could witness that from the San Siro, but it was warmer inside Earl's Court Arena in London for the 30th Brit Awards and the star of the show, Lady Gaga.
The San Siro is a favourite of mine, where I have watched World Cup matches in 1990, Serie A and Champions League in the 80,000 capacity stadio. Back in 1990 we were at the opening match of Italia '90, between defending champions Argentina and upstarts Cameroon. The underdogs won and we were dancing in the stands and after the match with the colourful, singing African fans.
A year ago I witnessed one of David Beckham's first matches, and a goal, when on loan from the L.A. Galaxy, and was privileged to have back stage access to the locker rooms and a chat with Becks after the final whistle. I have been on the pitch, toured the facilities and even dodged the paparazzi, outside the city centre offices to have my photo taken with the 7 Champions League and European Cup trophies, and even toured Milanello, their lavish training site out in the country.
A thiner Ronaldinho was on show, and put the Rossoneri( red-black) 1-0 in front after just 3 minutes in this first leg, and to be honest, Manchester United could well have been 3-0 down due to sloppy defending. However, Paul Scholes Scores Goals, and he did just that to level the score at the half, 1-1. Both clubs are nicknamed Devils, Red Devils and Il Diavolo, and both play in legendary stadiums. AC Milan were founded by two Englishmen in 1899, Alfred Edwards and Herbert Kilpic, hence Milan rather than Milano in the title.
I switch TV channels at half-time to the 30th Annual Brit Awards, and Lady Gaga, born Stefani Germanetta, came on stage in a stunning all white wedding cake ensemble to take to the piano and sing a song dedicated to Alexander McQueen, the avant-garde dress designer who committed suicide a few days before. As the evening wore on and she won three awards and the praise of the audience. the New Yorker, trained in classic piano with Brahms etc., strutted up the steps to the stage for the presentations.
Back in Milano, Wayne Rooney took centre stage, assisted by a magnicifent performance from Scotsman Darren Fletcher in midfield, and rose with ease and majesty to crown the evening with two stunning goals with his balding head. Clarence Seedorf, 4 times winner of the 'Big Ears' trophy with various clubs, scored a cheeky back-heel goal to reduce the arrears 2-3. I kept texting my friend Matt Williams, back stage at Earls Court with the updated scores.
Matt is a multi-talented young man who left Univ. Cal. Santa Barbara during their national championship season to go into his other love, designing clothes. He was an accomplished player and a Reds fan. I organized tickets for United's pre-season tour 8 years ago against Valarenga in Oslo, and Ajax at the Amsterdam Arena, and then a seat next to David Beckham's sister and parents at Stamford Bridge when United visited Chelsea and won. The Norwegian club had in fact offered him a contract while he trained there.
Nowadays he is with The Haus of Gaga, and according to the deva he is her 'soul mate' and best friend, and they travel the world together. On Thursday February 18th they start their World Tour at the M.E.N. Arena in Manchester before concerts in Dublin, Belfast, London, Glasgow, Nottingham, Sheffield, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Munich, Berlin, Hamburg ... The World!.
Wayne Rooney returns to his roots on Saturday lunchtime for an EPL encounter against his old club, Everton at Goodison Park, and three weeks later hosts the AC Milan in the second leg at the Theatre of Dreams, Old Trafford.