Pompey fan Antonio Massari, 35, has traveled to more than 22 countries since taking up the challenge of wearing a different football shirt every day in July last year.
Antonio, who has been collecting shirts since he was young, wears tops from his collection of over 500 pieces that range from the obscure to the well-known.
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The Southsea-based football fan, who also supports Inter Milan as his mother lives in the Italian city, ranks Portsmouth’s 2008 FA Cup winning shirt with ‘Muntari’ on the back among his favourites. “I’m a Pompey fan and the shirt I hold most dear is the shirt from when we won the FA Cup,” he said.
“After arriving in Portsmouth the first thing I did was go to Fratton Park and buy the shirt.
Antonio goes to great lengths to get shirts from the places he visits. “I try to buy from a local team or the national team and contact football clubs and associations and buy used. But it’s not easy when you go to obscure places like Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Singapore,” he said.
“It’s also difficult when I’m out for 10 days at a time because I’ll need at least 10 shirts. Sometimes I travel with a backpack with barely anything but football shirts.
And he turned to corruption to achieve his ambition. He said: “In the Maldives, I went to the stadium and saw a cleaner there. I asked them if I could buy a shirt for the national team.
“I gave the cleaner £20 and they opened the dressing room door and gave me a shirt of one of the national players. So I even managed to use corruption.
Antonio says he does his research and tries to avoid offending fans or opposing team people the wrong way. “I would never wear a Southampton shirt at Portsmouth. I’m not stupid, he said.
“I went to Manchester and briefly wore a Liverpool shirt for five minutes, but it was a joke.
“I try to avoid rivalries that can be linked to religion and politics. I wore an Israeli shirt once and some people on Instagram took it personally.
“I do my research to know where I’m going because sometimes there are things you don’t know, like in Greece, many teams were formed from Turkey during the Ottoman Empire – like AEK Athens. “
He added: “I have always loved football shirts since my childhood. They are often only worn for matches in stadiums but they can be worn for all occasions as there are so many types.
“I decided to take the challenge when I hit 365 shirts and really enjoyed it. It’s nice to have shirts as keepsakes and represent where you’ve been.
Antonio traveled all over Europe, including to “freeze” Iceland where he was forced to wear his shirt over his jacket.
He has also traveled to Asia and the Middle East in countries ranging from Vietnam to Jordan and the United Arab Emirates and is expected to complete his challenge in October.