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Enrico Vanzini, 100, an Italian military personnel during the Second World War, with Inter Milan jersey in Padua on Monday. Image Credit: Reuters

Padua, Italy: Passionate Inter Milan fan Enrico Vanzini went to the club’s San Siro stadium to watch his team play for the first time in 2022. He was 99.

“My passion began when I was seven… I was never able to go, and I had no money,” Vanzini, now 100, told Reuters.

A Holocaust survivor, Vanzini is now looking forward to Wednesday’s Champions League semifinal showdown against city rivals AC Milan, dubbed as the Euroderby, and will follow the first leg match from the comfort of his nursing home in the northern city of Padua.

Small pension

“I prayed to God to give me the joy of Inter winning, and hopefully He will agree,” he said, wearing an Inter T-shirt with his name inscribed on the back.

“I would do anything (for a win), including (giving up) my small pension.”

A soldier in the Italian army during World War Two, Vanzini was captured by the Germans as a prisoner of war after Italy surrendered to the allies in 1943 and survived the final months of the conflict in the Dachau Nazi concentration camp.

After returning home, he worked as a bus and truck driver.

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Enrico Vanzini kisses his Inter jersey. Image Credit: Reuters

Vanzini, who received his Inter T-shirt from the club to mark his 100th birthday, began testifying about his experiences of the Holocaust in the early 2000s.

He starts his mornings gazing out of the window, waiting for the postman to deliver him la Gazzetta dello Sport, Italy’s most popular sports newspaper. He also has an iPad, and has learned how to watch sports from the apps.

Praising Inzaghi

“In the past, I used to visit friends who had a television… and if I was driving the bus I used to tell people: ‘Don’t shout please, I have to listen to something’.”

It was the radio commentary of Inter’s games. He admires team manager Simone Inzaghi, saying he made “very few mistakes”. But he has a suggestion to help the team defeat Milan and reach the first Champions League final since 2010.

“In the first half, we must not get too tired, everyone must be in their place,” he said.