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04th Jul 2022

Swiss football fan slept rough in Milan for 10 years after getting lost at San Siro

Daniel Brown

‘I had about €20 in my pocket and no phone so I wandered into Milan’

A Swiss football fan once found himself sleeping rough on the streets of Milan for 10 years after getting lost at the end of a game at the San Siro stadium.

Rolf Bantle went to Italy to watch FC Basel take on Inter Milan in a Champions League qualifier in 2004. However, after the match – which Inter won 4-1 – Bantle went to the toilet but became disorientated and couldn’t find his friends.

While it would be fair to presume that the Swiss pensioner would try his best to return to his homeland, he actually chose to remain in Milan. Bantle, who said he opted to stay in Italy as he “had no commitments”, ended up staying for a decade, sleeping rough on the streets.

Speaking to Swiss outlet Schweiz am Sonntag in 2015, he said that he “enjoyed the freedom” of his unusual lifestyle in Milan.

“I was suddenly in a different sector. I had about €20 in my pocket and no phone so I wandered into Milan,” said Bantle.

“People gave me food and cigarettes, and one student offered me a sleeping bag.”

Bantle was reported missing after the game

Understandably, Bantle was reported missing after the match at the San Siro, but because he didn’t have any close relatives, and had reportedly been living in a rehabilitation centre, he stayed in Italy.

He told the Swiss newspaper that he took showers once a week in a public washroom, and also frequently visited the local library.

“There was for me no longer any reason to go home. I enjoyed the freedom of Milan,” he added.

Return to Switzerland

The Swiss football fan eventually returned to Switzerland after reportedly falling and breaking his femur. After being treated in an Italian hospital, staff realised he had no health insurance and contacted the Swiss consulate, who arranged to bring him home.

When his story was published in 2015, Bantle was living in a retirement home in Switzerland.