by Melinda Gallo

Mutu and Santana

The last thing I thought was going to do today was go back to the Fiorentina negozio (store) near the stadio (stadium) where the calciatori (soccer players) of the Fiorentina were visiting yesterday. But when Alessandro told me that he heard on the radio that Mutu and Santana were going to be there at noon, I couldn't pass up the occasione (opportunity). Mutu is an attacante (striker) along with Gilardino. Because it was such a nice day, I decided to ride my bicicletta and left early in hopes of beating the crowds.

Living in Florence :: Mutu and Santana

When I arrived a half hour early there were only a few people standing outside waiting. I pulled out my macchina fotografica (camera) and got ready to take pictures. I took a few shots of the giornalista (journalist) from SKY Sport who was interviewing people about the partita (soccer match) tomorrow against Sampdoria. Every time he walked near anyone in line, the person's first reaction was to walk away. Only a few people wanted to be interviewed by him.

I had a hunch that I should stand more near the corner when a grey Toyota drove up and was coming right at me. I couldn't see inside because of the reflection on the front window, but I thought that the tifosi (fans) were bold to park right in front of the negozio. When I finally got a good look inside of the macchina (car), I saw Santana. I pulled out my macchina fotografica and started snapping away. I then saw Mutu get out of the macchina and make his way into the negozio.

I was still surprised that there were only about 40 of us outside because Mutu is one of the most famous calciatori on the squadra (team). The people outside were all a bit nervous and excited to see Mutu. One man, with whom I chatted for a couple of minutes outside, came back outside and told me that he got Mutu's autograph and a photo with him. It was exciting to see how much joy was on this man's face.

When it was my turn to go inside, I headed straight for Santana to take some pictures. And then I walked into the little room where Gilardino was yesterday to see Mutu. When it was my turn, I asked him if I could take a picture, and he said that I could. When I put my macchina fotografica up to look at him, he leaned on the table in front of me and stared into the macchina fotografica, which is the shot that is shown in this article. I wanted to take a few just in case it didn't turn out, but I was a little nervous.

I let a few people ahead of me and then asked him for his autograph. People told me to be prepared because he's not known to be a friendly guy, but he was quite gracious and appeared in good spirits.

I went back out to see Santana and asked him if I could take a photo of him, and he agreed as well. He also signed my notebook, which this time I didn't forget about.

I stood outside afterwards because I knew that they'd be interviewed. I watched as Santana was the first one to be cornered by the giornalisti. I took a couple of pictures and then saw Mutu standing at the door of the negozio with a manager of the Fiorentina. I took pictures of them both because no one else was around.

I was really happy to go back to the negozio to see more calciatori from my squadra. It's so interesting to see people up close that I usually see only on the campo (field) or on television. They're always taller than I imagined them to be and sometimes even better looking.

NOTE: I have posted more photos from today's visit to the Fiorentina negozio where I saw Mutu and Santana. Become a fan on FaceBook to check them out.

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