“My mother had a dream that said every child in this world needs to learn how to be a better person. She was right. Today I am doing that.
“In the morning it is the same as on my day off, but by the time I can go home my head is heavy.
“What does it mean for a teacher to come to your house?
“I will talk to my brother about this after the game.”
I did the talk with my mother, and after that I went to the school in a big coach’s car with a big smile on my face. It will be the first football game that I have in front of more than 300 people. They all know me, they all know what I do.
“They don’t know so good how it comes to the end. The first time I was in front of the fans I was about 100 kilos lighter than I am now. At that time I had no injuries or scars. I did the right things for my kids, and I did the right things for their families.
“It is an honour to play in front of them at the end of a great career. But for me it has nothing to do with money, fame or everything else.”
A proud father
I know that is a harsh thing to say but a big part of football is responsibility, and there is no one so far at my age with a bigger responsibility than Meek, who has won five European Cups, more than a dozen FA Cups and a Champions League with Bayern Munich. He has been an absolute hero to my life for nearly four decades.
“Meek has been my role model since I was 13, maybe it’s because I am from the same town,” he says. “I went in the wrong direction when I was growing up. I think this life has been easier for me. It has been easier to grow up around me because I have a bigger heart. And now I see a great opportunity to change.”
Meek looks to me, then to those around him, and says: “Football is where I really feel like a child again, but I always knew it could be a long way from here. I always said I wouldn’t let one day go by without giving something back or doing something for someone else.
“I want to do it for my family and for my team-mates because we all had a lot to get through.”
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