Fan-spiration: “Bayern is pretty much the only thing that brings me joy”
27-year-old Sonia Cerca comes from Italy, the country that is home to the Italian Serie A and the historically successful national team Azzuri. Naturally, Italians are extremely passionate about football, and Sonia is no exception – with the only difference that unlike most of her fellow countrymen and women, she supports Bayern Munich and Germany.
“Yes, everyone thinks I’m weird for supporting Bayern,” she acknowledges. “But they have accepted it by now. It’s really awful though how most people here always root against Bayern.”
Sonia lives in Cingoli, a small town in the province of Macerata. Her first football memory dates back to 1998, when she watched the World Cup final together with her mom – at the time, she was still rooting for France.
“It was the 2002 World Cup that made me fall in love with the sport and start supporting the German national team,” Sonia recalls. A couple of years later, this passion and support expanded to Bayern Munich.
It was an easy choice for her at first, because many players she loved from the national team were also part of Bayern Munich – like Oliver Kahn, her first favourite footballer, Miroslav Klose, Philipp Lahm, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Lukas Podolski – but slowly, without Sonia even being aware of it herself, she fell in love with the club.
“I realised it for the first time when FC Bayern faced Milan, which still was my favourite club at the time, in the 2006-2007 Champions League campaign,” Sonia says. “One of the kids at school asked me who I’d be supporting, and I said Bayern. That’s when I knew it was love. I love the mentality, passion, and determination the players have. And being part of the fanbase really feels like being part of a huge family.”
More than that, she adds, through her support for FC Bayern, she has met amazing people – mainly on Twitter, where Sonia actively tweets about football and other things she’s interested in. Their shared passion for Bayern has brought them together and “they are always there to help or support me when I need it,” she says.
This has perhaps never been truer at this moment: it’s been over a year, but the coronavirus still continues to grip the world, including most European countries. During these challenging and unprecedented times, Sonia says that watching football has been a welcome distraction.
“It means the world to me. With all that is going on right now, Bayern is pretty much the only thing that brings me joy — and quite some pain too,” she explains, with a laugh.
Another thing that keeps Sonia busy is her blog “A Film A Day,” where she regularly shares her opinions on films and, occasionally, on TV series – be it horror, dramas, action or comedy.
Of course, when she thinks about comedy, Sonia is quickly reminded of her favourite Bayern Munich player: Thomas Müller.
“He is a terrific player but most of all, I love how freely he expresses himself and his emotions. Not to mention how funny the guy is,” she says.
Looking back at most devastating and favourite moments as a Bayern fan, Sonia says that she was happiest when the club won the Champions League in 2013, and saddest when Bayern lost the Champions League final against Inter three years earlier.
“I literally cried myself to sleep that night,” she says.
Prior to this Champions League final, Sonia remembers having a disagreement with her high school teacher – a staunch supporter of Inter who insisted that his favoured team was not only better in terms of skills on the pitch, but that it also had the better looking players.
“The next day I brought him photos of both Bayern’s and Inter’s starting XI just to prove him wrong,” Sonia recalls. “The class had a good laugh, and he actually admitted that he was wrong.”
One thing that Sonia doesn’t always agree with is the club’s transfer policy.
“Bayern is one of the richest clubs in the world and yet they are not willing to spend money to buy valid players,” she says and adds: “No, I’m still not over Perišić.”
Having said that, she takes the good with the bad, as any true supporter would. Unfortunately, Sonia didn’t have the chance yet to see Bayern play live. But she remains confident: “Hopefully, I will in the future.”