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More Than - Matteo Pessina

"Looking Formward"

More Than - Matteo Pessina
"Looking Formward"
More Than - Matteo Pessina Looking Formward


"Looking Forward"


Matteo Pessina's name became immediately known to all Italians thanks to the strange way he celebrated the brace against Austria, in those very complicated Round of 16 finals but which launched us all the way to the European title won at Wembley not even a year ago. A diving header after an endless run that found the green grass instead of the blue sea, becoming the metaphor for the Azzurri's ride, a little bit reckless, a little bit crazy, but with a soft landing. But Pessina is not only the Monza and national team midfielder lethal in incursions without the ball, clean face and inexhaustible lungs, but he is also a guy who wants to use the celebrity guaranteed by the ball to widen as much as possible his platform made up of interests and passions even when very distant from football. "Just like in every part of the world everything is connected, everything is open. There is no longer only football, only fashion, only music, but if one has many interests, hobbies or preferences it is right that one shows them also in the football sphere. If I like to dress in a certain way I will arrive at the game looking like that, also to feel like myself.”"

When he arrives at the estate near Brembate, between a gravel pit and an artificial lake, for the shooting of the fourth episode of More Than, Pessina interest in the outfits picked and the location's choices is clearly palpable. "Yes, within the limits of my work it is a world we are trying to approach, because I like it, it suits me. I'm compatible with this world and so it's something I would like to continue to do more and more and maybe do some broader projects about the world beyond sports." Pessina has never made a secret of his interest in the world of fashion, an interest that can be seen simply on his Instagram feed where the necessary shots of the pitch are spaced out with others of him wearing items selected by a careful and competent eye, but which becomes even more evident as soon as there is a chance to exchange a few jokes between the outfit changes.

"One of the things I would wear every day is this Louis Vuitton Bermuda shorts, maybe because they were the most appropriate for the season, however, I have to say that all the looks were beautiful. Also the ETRO one, the beautiful Diesel one, the jeans I will definitely get because they are scary good. But everything is comfortable and in line with my style, today for example I have a Stussy T-shirt, these are also Nike x Stussy," he says, tilting his ankle inside with a gesture that every sneakerhead knows well. The passion toward American streetwear however in recent times finds counterpoint in that toward high fashion brands, "I like to pair it with more hi-end pieces like these Louis Vuitton shorts. I really like Bottega Veneta, I like Rick Owens, or Balenciaga because they always do extreme things. It's a way mix together a series of inspirations and worlds."

The freshness of his enthusiasm can also be felt when he tells me that he does not get help in composing his outfits but does "everything by himself because it's a passion of mine, I go around stores a little bit, a little bit online. When I find something I like I either get it right away or I go to the shop. I look more on brand sites, on Farfetch. I use Ssense a lot. I'm also in touch with one of their stylists because I really like how they work and their style." Most importantly, he is not too interested in copying his colleagues, scrolling through Instagram compulsively until he discovers all the secrets behind a look. "I use Instagram more to see when new collections come out, to keep myself informed about releases rather than to copy other people's looks. If I see someone dressed well I say 'I like their style' however I don't really ask what brand they are, maybe the style in general. Yes, I recognize the skill but I never have that urge to stand there and copy."

He admits, though, that he has a soft spot for NBA players, not so much because of their always futuristic outfits and attention to detail, but because they have the freedom to show their full personality before taking the court. "It's another sport and another level there, even just how they arrive at games compared to us, who have to wear in company attire. They can show off their personality in the Tunnel Fits." The relationship between European football and U.S. sports is a comparison that returns often in his words, a difference in cultural approach that obviously doesn't stop just at the clothing. But just as football and fashion are two worlds on a collision course, more and more players are expressing this desire, without going against team sponsors but at the same time carving out a space for themselves. "It's a place with cameras, photographers, everyone is watching you, it becomes a time to show how you dress, who you are, what you like. In the end, your way of dressing up define traits of your personality."

"If people follow you it's because they don't just like you as a player but for who you are, what you say, how you show up, how you relate even in interviews. I think if you can meet these demands then a person follows you. The more you do well in different fields, the more people you can reach."
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Sometimes the totalizing attention with which in Italy football is viewed and experienced tends to flatten football players on their sports performance, a cast that defines the limits of their professional lives and prevents something more. "Football in Italy is still a bit close-minded about some issues, but it is opening up thanks to the new generation, paving the way to go further. After all, beyond the Sunday game there is much more, behind us, behind football there is a world moving." According to Pessina, on the other hand, there could be "a lot more beyond the Sunday game, because behind us, behind football a world is moving." Where collaborations between sports and non-sports brands are increasingly frequent, providing a space where football players, fans and creatives can come together, also to decompress the pressure that usually accompanies sports.

When asked what his favorite collaboration is, he responds with the one between Jordan and Paris Saint-Germain, "but I know it's too trivial, so I'll tell you that without going that far even the collaboration that Inter did with Moncler shows how they are moving more and more in Italy as well." As Pessina rightly points out, "doing these things in Milan or Paris is easy, the challenge is to get even to clubs less historically linked to fashion because it is everyone's chance and it is right that it is open to anyone who wants to try." So I ask him if we will ever see him involved in such operations, perhaps even taking advantage of his presence on the team as testimonial. He replies that he would like to be part of it sooner or later, especially because "for a club or for the fans it's important when a player cares about these things, to leave his mark both from a football point of view but also from a human point of view, it's good for the whole environment."

Matteo Pessina was born and raised in Monza, a team in which he played all his youth and made his professional debut before being sold first to AC Milan and to Atalanta, before finally come back home as the captain of his city's team. He is extremely attached to his places, even in those where he arrived pushed by his career’s choices. He cares about being seen as a role model, not only on the pitch but also in the community, to the fans who sing his name in the stadium every Sunday. As we are shooting at one point the owner of the estate arrives, a lively gentleman from Bergamo who never misses an Atalanta game and has come to meet "The Matteo." And Pessina cordially introduces himself to the man who obviously knows his first name, last name, jersey number, and probably goals and assists season, chats for a few minutes about the team, and takes a few souvenir photos before returning to being the subject of ours. The normalcy that comes from this simple interaction nicely sums up the atmosphere during the shoot, between a shot sliding down a fine gravel dune to a break to pet the estate horses, and show us more about Pessina's cheerful personality.

"When you become a player of a certain level, first of all for yourself and for performance you have to lead an athlete's life so you can't deviate. Then it's also difficult to maintain relationships with the fans sometimes, with all the fans, it's obvious that you can't go around Milan anymore like when I was 15 years old. Places then become limited, you spend the free time you have at home catching up or at the gym doing massages and cold tubs." And while replacing walking in the Duomo square with hyperbaric chambers may be a sacrifice many would be willing to make, the same cannot be said for the amount of interests Pessina demonstrates beyond the pitch. "I study economics in Rome," he tells me, "but apart from that I like fashion, of course, but also architecture, design, writing"- how could one forget the Diario di Bordo that had accompanied the Europeans - and "I would like to be able to carry on my way of seeing the world could help those who want to get in touch with certain issues to express themselves more freely."

In this era, social media are a preferential channel for a generation that grew up during the platform boom, and Pessina himself calls them "a showcase to make those collaborations we were talking about earlier, even to go beyond football." In particular, they make it possible to create a three-dimensional image of a player, even breaking out of the stereotypes that often plague the general discourse. An approach that works, as Pessina himself explains, "is something that goes hand in hand with growth on the pitch, if people follow you it's because they don't just like you as a player but for who you are, what you say, how you show up, how you relate even in interviews. I think if you can meet these demands then a person follows you. The more you do well in different fields, the more people you can reach." And Matteo Pessina is certainly not done here launching himself into new projects, with the same spontaneity and madness with which he dived, after a sensational goal, into the lawn at Wembley.

Talent: Matteo Pessina
Photographer: Dino Junior Gulino
Stylist: Yosephine Melfi
MUA: Cecilia Olmedi
Photographer Assistant: Edoardo Anastasio
Style Assistant: Linda Degiorgi
Art Director: Alessandro Bigi
Editorial Coordinators: Elisa Ambrosetti - Edoardo Lasala
Production: nss factory
Words: Lorenzo Bottini

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