Culture

Voice of the Rossoneri

Gegio Lanzoni has the best job ever: stadium announcer for his beloved AC Milan. Here he tells Sheridan Bird how a sense of occasion, a big heart and plenty of humour have taken him far

Over the past two decades AC Milan fans have roared their approval at the ruthlessness of Andrij Shevchenko, the grace of Kaká and confidence of Zlatan Ibrahimović. But another entertainer, who has never actually kicked a ball, has also seduced them. An animated, slim figure boasting a booming voice and bucketload of charisma.

Germano Lanzoni, or Gegio to his friends, is Milan’s pre-match emcee. He stands pitchside with his microphone and starts the party, while DJ Simo J plays the tunes. When the players come out for their warm up he rachets up the hype and reads out the Milan starting XI “at the top of my voice and with every last breath available”. And it’s a wonderful voice. “My maternal grandfather, Mario Galli, was a baritone. I have inherited some of his vocal power and his timbre. When I announce the teams I use a dramatic, almost musical style.”

The 55-year-old’s delivery and energy are adored by supporters; in fact, he is a local celebrity. “I love it when people recognise me in the street. As last season entered the final six weeks, Milan fans thanked me for my work but we never spoke about the league title, out of superstition. There was no mention of the ‘s’ word: scudetto.” 

The Milan-born showman’s big break was a much-welcome slice of luck. “At the beginning of the 2000s I was working for a radio station that was a partner of Milan. In 2002 the stadium announcer retired, and they offered me his job. As a Rossoneri fan from the city, I jumped at the opportunity. My first season pitchside was 2002/03 and we won the Champions League. A pretty good start – and they kept me on. Maybe they thought I was a lucky charm. 

“I have been here ever since and we have had some glorious nights in Europe. I will never forget the 2006/07 semi-final second leg against Manchester United. We lost the first match in England, which was understandable considering it was a good United team starring the young Cristiano Ronaldo.

“The return leg took place under an incredible storm and the atmosphere was electrifying. It was win or bust, an all-or-nothing night at the San Siro. Carlo Ancelotti and his team got everything right and we blew United away 3-0. The rain felt as if the gods were watching and supporting us from above the clouds. We then won the final in Athens against Liverpool, a measure of revenge for the penalty shoot-out loss in Istanbul two seasons previously.

When I announce the teams I use a dramatic, almost musical style
By

“Our objective is to win it again. Hearing the Champions League anthem at San Siro again last season after an absence of eight years was beautiful.” 

Gegio arrives at the stadium two to three hours before every match and admits that Champions League nights come with a challenge. “I have to study a lot before games because I am dyslexic and some of the names of our opponents are very difficult for me. I separate the syllables to help me understand them. I also ask visiting journalists for tips. I only discovered I was dyslexic two years ago. Now I am even prouder of what I do at the stadium. My message to anyone else suffering from dyslexia, or similar conditions, is that you can go beyond what you consider your limits. Limits are there to overcome.”

When he isn’t preaching the gospel at the San Siro, Gegio is also a popular comedy actor and singer. His character, the Milanese Imbruttito, is a fast talking, cut-throat businessman; his sketches poke fun at the city’s high-octane corporate culture that marks it out from the rest of Italy. He has also released two albums of what he describes as “traditional Milanese musical comedy”.

The success of Milanese Imbruttito led to a film – Mollo Tutto e Apro un Chiringuito – last December, which was an ambition realised for Lanzoni. “I loved making the film. There is an entire team of people checking light, hair, make-up, as well as feeding us and monitoring the set. That team effort reminded me of football: the perception is that it’s just the stars who make the difference, but there are so many people giving 100 per cent to reach an objective.”

Gegio is grateful to work with so many committed people, whether in football or entertainment. And those around him keep him humble. “I remember one Champions League home game in which the fans and I were particularly in harmony. I felt on top of the world, with 80,000 fans appreciating my efforts. It was extraordinary. Then when I arrived home after the match my wife told me off for leaving our bathroom sink in a mess. From Champions League ecstasy to a chided husband. But my message to anyone is to never stop dreaming, to have their head in the clouds but keep their feet and roots on the ground. I suppose that means I am telling people to be like a tree!”

Milan fan, stadium announcer, singer, actor and philosopher. Welcome to Gegio’s world.

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Culture

Voice of the Rossoneri

Gegio Lanzoni has the best job ever: stadium announcer for his beloved AC Milan. Here he tells Sheridan Bird how a sense of occasion, a big heart and plenty of humour have taken him far

Over the past two decades AC Milan fans have roared their approval at the ruthlessness of Andrij Shevchenko, the grace of Kaká and confidence of Zlatan Ibrahimović. But another entertainer, who has never actually kicked a ball, has also seduced them. An animated, slim figure boasting a booming voice and bucketload of charisma.

Germano Lanzoni, or Gegio to his friends, is Milan’s pre-match emcee. He stands pitchside with his microphone and starts the party, while DJ Simo J plays the tunes. When the players come out for their warm up he rachets up the hype and reads out the Milan starting XI “at the top of my voice and with every last breath available”. And it’s a wonderful voice. “My maternal grandfather, Mario Galli, was a baritone. I have inherited some of his vocal power and his timbre. When I announce the teams I use a dramatic, almost musical style.”

The 55-year-old’s delivery and energy are adored by supporters; in fact, he is a local celebrity. “I love it when people recognise me in the street. As last season entered the final six weeks, Milan fans thanked me for my work but we never spoke about the league title, out of superstition. There was no mention of the ‘s’ word: scudetto.” 

The Milan-born showman’s big break was a much-welcome slice of luck. “At the beginning of the 2000s I was working for a radio station that was a partner of Milan. In 2002 the stadium announcer retired, and they offered me his job. As a Rossoneri fan from the city, I jumped at the opportunity. My first season pitchside was 2002/03 and we won the Champions League. A pretty good start – and they kept me on. Maybe they thought I was a lucky charm. 

“I have been here ever since and we have had some glorious nights in Europe. I will never forget the 2006/07 semi-final second leg against Manchester United. We lost the first match in England, which was understandable considering it was a good United team starring the young Cristiano Ronaldo.

“The return leg took place under an incredible storm and the atmosphere was electrifying. It was win or bust, an all-or-nothing night at the San Siro. Carlo Ancelotti and his team got everything right and we blew United away 3-0. The rain felt as if the gods were watching and supporting us from above the clouds. We then won the final in Athens against Liverpool, a measure of revenge for the penalty shoot-out loss in Istanbul two seasons previously.

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When I announce the teams I use a dramatic, almost musical style
By

“Our objective is to win it again. Hearing the Champions League anthem at San Siro again last season after an absence of eight years was beautiful.” 

Gegio arrives at the stadium two to three hours before every match and admits that Champions League nights come with a challenge. “I have to study a lot before games because I am dyslexic and some of the names of our opponents are very difficult for me. I separate the syllables to help me understand them. I also ask visiting journalists for tips. I only discovered I was dyslexic two years ago. Now I am even prouder of what I do at the stadium. My message to anyone else suffering from dyslexia, or similar conditions, is that you can go beyond what you consider your limits. Limits are there to overcome.”

When he isn’t preaching the gospel at the San Siro, Gegio is also a popular comedy actor and singer. His character, the Milanese Imbruttito, is a fast talking, cut-throat businessman; his sketches poke fun at the city’s high-octane corporate culture that marks it out from the rest of Italy. He has also released two albums of what he describes as “traditional Milanese musical comedy”.

The success of Milanese Imbruttito led to a film – Mollo Tutto e Apro un Chiringuito – last December, which was an ambition realised for Lanzoni. “I loved making the film. There is an entire team of people checking light, hair, make-up, as well as feeding us and monitoring the set. That team effort reminded me of football: the perception is that it’s just the stars who make the difference, but there are so many people giving 100 per cent to reach an objective.”

Gegio is grateful to work with so many committed people, whether in football or entertainment. And those around him keep him humble. “I remember one Champions League home game in which the fans and I were particularly in harmony. I felt on top of the world, with 80,000 fans appreciating my efforts. It was extraordinary. Then when I arrived home after the match my wife told me off for leaving our bathroom sink in a mess. From Champions League ecstasy to a chided husband. But my message to anyone is to never stop dreaming, to have their head in the clouds but keep their feet and roots on the ground. I suppose that means I am telling people to be like a tree!”

Milan fan, stadium announcer, singer, actor and philosopher. Welcome to Gegio’s world.

Culture

Voice of the Rossoneri

Gegio Lanzoni has the best job ever: stadium announcer for his beloved AC Milan. Here he tells Sheridan Bird how a sense of occasion, a big heart and plenty of humour have taken him far

Over the past two decades AC Milan fans have roared their approval at the ruthlessness of Andrij Shevchenko, the grace of Kaká and confidence of Zlatan Ibrahimović. But another entertainer, who has never actually kicked a ball, has also seduced them. An animated, slim figure boasting a booming voice and bucketload of charisma.

Germano Lanzoni, or Gegio to his friends, is Milan’s pre-match emcee. He stands pitchside with his microphone and starts the party, while DJ Simo J plays the tunes. When the players come out for their warm up he rachets up the hype and reads out the Milan starting XI “at the top of my voice and with every last breath available”. And it’s a wonderful voice. “My maternal grandfather, Mario Galli, was a baritone. I have inherited some of his vocal power and his timbre. When I announce the teams I use a dramatic, almost musical style.”

The 55-year-old’s delivery and energy are adored by supporters; in fact, he is a local celebrity. “I love it when people recognise me in the street. As last season entered the final six weeks, Milan fans thanked me for my work but we never spoke about the league title, out of superstition. There was no mention of the ‘s’ word: scudetto.” 

The Milan-born showman’s big break was a much-welcome slice of luck. “At the beginning of the 2000s I was working for a radio station that was a partner of Milan. In 2002 the stadium announcer retired, and they offered me his job. As a Rossoneri fan from the city, I jumped at the opportunity. My first season pitchside was 2002/03 and we won the Champions League. A pretty good start – and they kept me on. Maybe they thought I was a lucky charm. 

“I have been here ever since and we have had some glorious nights in Europe. I will never forget the 2006/07 semi-final second leg against Manchester United. We lost the first match in England, which was understandable considering it was a good United team starring the young Cristiano Ronaldo.

“The return leg took place under an incredible storm and the atmosphere was electrifying. It was win or bust, an all-or-nothing night at the San Siro. Carlo Ancelotti and his team got everything right and we blew United away 3-0. The rain felt as if the gods were watching and supporting us from above the clouds. We then won the final in Athens against Liverpool, a measure of revenge for the penalty shoot-out loss in Istanbul two seasons previously.

When I announce the teams I use a dramatic, almost musical style
By

“Our objective is to win it again. Hearing the Champions League anthem at San Siro again last season after an absence of eight years was beautiful.” 

Gegio arrives at the stadium two to three hours before every match and admits that Champions League nights come with a challenge. “I have to study a lot before games because I am dyslexic and some of the names of our opponents are very difficult for me. I separate the syllables to help me understand them. I also ask visiting journalists for tips. I only discovered I was dyslexic two years ago. Now I am even prouder of what I do at the stadium. My message to anyone else suffering from dyslexia, or similar conditions, is that you can go beyond what you consider your limits. Limits are there to overcome.”

When he isn’t preaching the gospel at the San Siro, Gegio is also a popular comedy actor and singer. His character, the Milanese Imbruttito, is a fast talking, cut-throat businessman; his sketches poke fun at the city’s high-octane corporate culture that marks it out from the rest of Italy. He has also released two albums of what he describes as “traditional Milanese musical comedy”.

The success of Milanese Imbruttito led to a film – Mollo Tutto e Apro un Chiringuito – last December, which was an ambition realised for Lanzoni. “I loved making the film. There is an entire team of people checking light, hair, make-up, as well as feeding us and monitoring the set. That team effort reminded me of football: the perception is that it’s just the stars who make the difference, but there are so many people giving 100 per cent to reach an objective.”

Gegio is grateful to work with so many committed people, whether in football or entertainment. And those around him keep him humble. “I remember one Champions League home game in which the fans and I were particularly in harmony. I felt on top of the world, with 80,000 fans appreciating my efforts. It was extraordinary. Then when I arrived home after the match my wife told me off for leaving our bathroom sink in a mess. From Champions League ecstasy to a chided husband. But my message to anyone is to never stop dreaming, to have their head in the clouds but keep their feet and roots on the ground. I suppose that means I am telling people to be like a tree!”

Milan fan, stadium announcer, singer, actor and philosopher. Welcome to Gegio’s world.

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