ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA - APRIL 10: Head coach of FC Zenit St. Petersburg, Luciano Spalletti during the Russian Football League Championship match between FC Zenit and PFC CSKA on April 10, 2011 in St. Petersburg, Russia. (Photo by Oleg Nikishin/Epsilon/Getty Images)
Tis time for a short introduction to the new co-bloggers, voted for by YOU, the PEOPLE.
Democracy. Hip hip.
This interview questions were shredded from my new book, Interviewing Techniques for Big Corportations, and then tweaked appropriately. I expect it to sell millions.
Jonas & Bren are up first. Say hello.
Do you like Roma?
bren: Of course, like is a bit of an understatement. I have enough other stresses in my life that a loss doesnt ruin my week, but all those consecutive second place finishes were demoralizing. I often wonder what it would be like to follow a team that spends at will and buys its way to the top, but where's the fun in that?
Jonas: Actually I don’t. It’s just a smokescreen for my love for everything with four legs and horns, also sometimes referred to as ‘goats’.
On a more serious note, I’ve been a fan since 2003 and have seen both magical (Coppa win, Spal era) and bad times (Franco Sensi’s death, 04-05 season, witnessed Abel Xavier and Loria in giallorosso). I was not looking for a trophy winning side ala Real, ManU or Bayern, I just wanted to find a club which could give me great football moments, a continuous rollercoaster. Roma gave it to me, and much more.
Brief thoughts on Luis Enrique.
bren: I have the utmost faith. I'm extremely curious to see who they buy and/or sell this summer to give him the horses he needs to win. But at the end of the day, this is a huge project with massive ambitions on and off the pitch, and I'd much rather have a young and ambitious man at the helm, rather than another Serie A retread. I like the attacking style and I think he has enough experience and maturity to make the necessary adaptations during the course of the match and season. I don't judge this season too harshly, we all knew it was going to be a transition year, so there were bound to be some hiccups. So far, the positives have outweighed the negatives.
Jonas: Bipolar, to say the least. I like his football vision (which fan doesn’t want to see his club play the style of Barca?), his commitment to the sport and his vision about youngsters. Since Luis, we’ve seen some primavera kids making their debut and he seems to keep everybody happy on the squad. Cicinho or Lobont don’t throw bombs around Trigoria or run naked over the Olimpico screaming for playing time, which is nice. But it’s his commitment to the 4 3 3 combined with his inexperience in Serie A that angers/deludes me. Some teams really outplayed us and some coaches really outcoached Luis which was painfully visible on the field. Let’s hope he learns as much this season as possible because even though frustrating at times, I do want him to coach us into 2012-2013. I firmly believe he can push through his style into Serie A but then we need reinforcements and more importantly, time. Patience is a key word here. The man has lost both derbies, we were out of the Coppa in the early stages and some matches were afwully bad. Still, Luis is here because of the management and we just have to accept it and stand behind him 100%. At least he has already ditched away that training jacket and wears a suit at the sidelines. Sorry, this ain’t quite a brief answer but Luis does make an interesting topic this season.
Briefer thoughts on just what the @#$% is going on with that iPad.
bren: The iPad...I haven't the slightest idea. He could be running simulations,reading our blog, checking the weather, reading the Hunger Games or Googling Sofia Vergara pics, the possibilities are endless.
Jonas: I’m not really an Apple freak, let alone an iPad one. I don’t really understand the hype too. What’s wrong with sticks and stones and smoke signals?
Does Gabriel Heinze being Roma's #1 CB through the much of the remaining season make you yearn to tickle your brain with a hot poker through the eye socket or carve out your heart with a spoon? Or: State of the Defense. Discuss.
bren: I liked the Heinze signing from day one and I like that they're extending the deal. What more could you want from a backup defender? He plays anywhere on the back four, he's still relatively fit and tenacious, granted he's been pressed into service more than we all imagined. The defense needs improvement, that much is certain; how they do that is beyond me. If last week was any indication, they're going to be a 'bend but not break' sort of defense for the remainder of the year. Angel's performance was very encouraging last week, both offensively and defensively, coupled with Rosi, we have two potentially dangerous fullbacks (in terms of generating offense anyway). So I'd say the center of defense is the more likely culprit to induce self-mutilation.
Jonas: I certainly wouldn’t have bet my house on it. Juan-Burdisso was (with the 09-10 season in mind) my starting CB pairing but faith and luck have deciced otherwise. Heinze has been solid (I’ll give him a 6.5-7) and was a free agent which makes it a smart move from Saba and co. He was the fourth choice CB in august, which makes him one of the best fourth choice CBs in Serie A or even the world in my opinion, just as JSB was the worlds best third string goalkeeper. I always ask myself, how would we have faired if Loria was still fourth choice? Would Rome survive 25+ games of Loria? Would the city inexplicably explode after so much Loria awesomeness? We’ll never know…Thanks to a clause in his contract, Heinze will stay for one more year after the summer, which is fine by me. He’ll be 34 soon but he has tons of experience and has that fire ala Burdisso and Daniele that makes him a great addition for the defense. That defense still needs rejuventation though and I hope Saba is up for the job. The thought of Juan saying goodbye in June makes me sad but with Burdisso/Heinze staying, I think the other CBs need to be under 30 at least. I admire Juan and I think he deserves a proper ending to his career at some club in Brazil with his family.
Compare and contrast the Spalletti clusterfuck and the Enrique clusterfuck, possibly using metaphor.
bren: Spalletti and Enrique are like two brothers, Spalletti being the older one who is jealous of the younger brothers athletic ability, his full head of hair, chin prominence and parental support. Spalletti did a hell of a job, especially considering all the financial problems the club was going through at the time, while they weren't exactly spend thrift, I can't remember them going all out in one summer like they did for Enrique in 2011. I think we're moving in the right direction, but its hard not to feel somewhat bad for Luciano given how unsettled the front office was during his tenure and wonder what he might have achieved with a greater degree of organizational stability.
Jonas: How about: ‘the difference between those clusterfucks is the same as the difference between Twilight and The Godfather’? Meaning: it’s just so totally different. Different coaches (nationality, formation), different times (Sensi and USA) and different players (Spal had Artur and Loria, Luis got Maarten and Heinze). For example, compare Perrotta of 2006 with the one now circa 2012. Or the Cassetti of 2007 with this season. Or the fact that Luis never had to work with Mexes while Spal never worked with Lamela or Bojan. Both have their particular achilles heels. Most of the time with Spal we played great, creating chances but always had difficulties to score the goal that closes down the game. Spal made a system his own (the strikerless 4 2 3 1 or 4 6 0) while Luis just plain copies one from another team (lord oh lord which one would that be?). With Luis we have much possession but we rarely do something useful with it. Luis also ain’t afraid to rotate, do things like Taddei at LB or play Greco regularly. Roma under Spal was fairly inconsistent but it reached new heights under Luis. We win against Inter 4-0 and lose in Siena the next. In a way, the lovechild of both would be the perfect trainer: Southern attitude, loves youth, experience in Serie A, possession football, popular among fans, half bald and half a big chin… Get those two to the night club at once!
Using the Wong-Baker pain scale, buying out Simon Kjaer makes you feel _____.
bren: Buying out Kjaer makes me feel about a 3 on that scale; his potential is just enough to ward off the "worst possible" pain, but I'm still slightly grimacing.
Jonas: 2. I actually had to look up the meaning of the scale, thanks google!
A lot depends of course on his imminent Serie A games, he’ll certainly start in the next 11 games next to Heinze, time to show his value (which is undeniable if you watched Palermo circa 2010). He’s THE new Mexes, blond hair, tattoos and brainfarts included. If he keeps up his recent performances, improves and grows back to his Palermo days, the 10m is more a steal than a heartbreak. At soon-to-be-23 he can give us at least 10 more years, if he doesn’t do ‘a Mexes’ of course... If not and he keeps disappointing (hence the 2), then the 10m must go to another alternative,preferably younger than 25 years, Saba style. Ottamendi, Vertonghen and Garay spring to my mind.
In under five words, discuss Fabio Simplicio's gravitational field.
bren: Event Horizon seems appropriate
Jonas: Simplicio likes fuckin’ cookies.
Now that Roma's beacon of couth, Matteo Brighi, is off in cheater-cheater land, tell us which player you believe to have assumed his crown and why. (Note: Neck tattoos mean automatic disqualification.)
bren: Hmm...if you mean which player will leave the most expectations unfulfilled, I'd have to go with Okaka. In terms of degrees of relative 'couthness', Lobant seems like a gentleman.
Jonas: Well, all the Romans are out of the question because they are… well Romans. Difficult one, but maybe I’ll go Lobont. I mean, he has been the obvious second and third choice keeper for three years now, he has seen coaches favouring Maarten, Doni and JSB but still shuts his mouth. Yeah I know he probably is living the good life, earning quite a good amount of money in the twilight of his career while he chills on the bench but he could have easily been a rotten apple too. He is a professional, a sober and simple guy and even acknowledges Maartens superiority and he recently held the 0 in Palermo (my theory ‘Lobont doesn’t do clean sheets’ out of the window) so I’ll bomb him to the new beacon of couth. Plus, he has no tattoos, the rest of AS Roma probably does.
If Maarten was a cartoon character, which one would he be?
bren: Maarten as a cartoon character. Well, he's gotta be big and goofy looking, so I can think of no other than Shaggy of Scooby Do fame.
Jonas: Wobbuffet of the Pokémon series. Go on, google it, I dare you.
Where do you reckon Roma will finish?
bren: Well, there are still home matches against both Udinese and Napoli and hopefully gimmes against Novara and Cesena, but also Juve and Milan fixtures lurking, while Napoli and Udinese's schedules look slightly more favorable. My gut tells me 5th, but theres currently only a 2 point difference between fifth place Udinese and third place Lazio, so if they get hot and Lazio tanks, third might be within reach.
Jonas: I’m both an optimistic and realistic guy, I want the CL so badly ($$$$$) but I must say others deserve it more for example Napoli. So let’s keep it on a fifth place finish, qualifying for EL next season. Or make that fourth, with Lazio beneath us as I can’t possibily survive Lazio ending ahead of us AND defeating us twice in the derby.
Open field: anything you wish to say.
bren: I'd just like to thank Chris for giving us this opportunity to contribute to the CDT community and thank all those who voted for me. I see great days ahead for Roma and the Chiesa Di Totti, its a great time to be a Roma supporter!
Jonas: I’m afraid I have already said to much during the interview, ten more sentences and chiesaditotti will crash I presume. Just that I’m excited by this opportunity and I’ll try to write without too many mistakes as possible. If you were wondering who’s the man behind these ridicolously good texts (ahem), I also have facebook so feel free to ask and I’ll send you the link.