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April 2017

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Ragazzo (The Kid) Football RPS, Matthäus/Klinsmann

Title: Ragazzo (The Kid)
Author: Renata Lord (snowlight)
Pairing: Matthäus/Klinsmann
Rating: G
Disclaimer: Making things up since 2000.
Summary: Lothar's impressions of his new Inter Milan teammate.

Ragazzo (The Kid)
(Matthäus/Klinsmann)


=Milan, August of 1989=

Lothar was prepared to get along with the kid. He was fully expected to get along with the kid, in fact, and that came from a personage no less august than Franz Beckenbauer himself. “You already work well with Andreas,” the Kaiser had instructed him over a glass of Italian white. “Bring the kid into the fold, build up your game play coordination, and we'll have something good going for the World Cup.”

Then the kid arrives in San Siro with a fresh face and the same old attitude. The Italian press swarm to him because they can hardly help it—the new big signing, German Footballer of the Year, not to mention startlingly blond and pretty at twenty-five. Jürgen Klinsmann's game has improved since Lothar saw him last in the Nationalelf, but off the field that aloofness clings to him like frost on a wet winter morning. Lothar had offered to room with him, but he had pointedly—though politely—declined, and that was that.

Yet when Giuseppe Baresi strolls into the locker room and asks if he has seen “the boy”, Lother feels a rather inexplicable compulsion to make a comment. The word ragazzo rolls off easily in the Italian tongue, with more affectionate indulgence than real condescension; and it's true that Jürgen has an absolutely golden boyish smile that belies the predatory nature of his game. Still, the word sounds off-center somehow to his German sensibilities.

“He's actually older than Nicola,” and probably a couple of other players on the roster, too, but Nicola Berti just has that archetypical Italian kid look.

“So he is,” the Inter captain gives him a knowing grin, “sticking up for your compatriot, eh?”

“He doesn't need me to stick up for him,” he shrugs and goes back to massaging his shins.

“Fine, if you see Jürgen—” and here Giuseppe does a respectable approximation of the umlaut sound, “tell him Venturi is looking for him.”

He's about to say “fine” when a mop of blond hair pops up right behind Giuseppe without warning. “Venturi wants to see me?”

“Hey, speaking of the devil! Yes, Venturi. In Trapattoni's office.”

Jürgen doesn't ask why. He only flashes that golden boy smile along with a simple “grazie” before turning away. Giuseppe goes as well, leaving him with his still-sore shins, and Lothar sighs in spite of himself.

Yes, thank God that kid actually can play, otherwise there would be no “getting along” with him at all.

End

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