The first time I remember seeing Raphael Honigstein in his role as Raphael Honigstein was in the early nineties in Munich, it was at a concert of De La Soul where the Stereo MCs might or might not have been the opening act and might or might not been the reason why we were all there, and Raphael was wearing a soccer jersey. It might have been green, this soccer jersey, and it might have belonged to an English club. Then again: Is there an English club with green jerseys? You see, this was the time before soccer became a universal pop culture, it was the time when pop itself was still a pop culture and educated people spent a lot of time discussing the distinctions of this sneaker versus that. Raphael was good at that, too. But he moved on. He went to London about a million years ago when, it seems, Damian Hirst was still young and the battle between Blur and Oasis had just been resolved one way or another. These were the nineties, mind you, a presumably boring decade that turned out to have been really fun. What brought Raphael to London? I am not sure. Maybe it was a huntch, maybe, as is his talent, in taste, music, dressing, he knew of the things to come. All I know is: When I met him over tea in London in 2013, soccer had become much more than a huge business, it had become one of the defining cultural codes of our time. And Raphael was at the center of it. There is power and there is money in this game now. Raphael is aware of that, and he likes it. It made him into the Raphael Honigstein of today: He writes about soccer for the Guardian, he tweets to his many knowing followers he is an expert on TV. But most of all, he is still a fan, like me, of his home town team: Bayern Munich. When we met over the years at various games in Madrid or London, Bayern was still, it seemed, an underdog. This has changed. But, I wonder, will this last? And, Raphael, what is next?
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