Totti Tuesday: The Rolex watch

Valerio Pennicino

Just like The Beatles, The Sopranos, Jonas Brothers, Ace Ventura movies or the nipple slips of Lindsay Lohan, all good things must come to end.

Roma are no different than any other team this planet. Mere mortals. They’re only human, just like the song Human of The Human League… Hmmm, too many humans?

Let me start by saying this is not an abrupt end, at all. Torino away is no easy task and it was perhaps the most tricky (not the same as difficult, mind you) game until now. They held Milan and Inter in Turin while Juve narrowly got away with a 0-1 win. A draw isn’t a bad result, we didn’t even deserve a win in my humble opinion. And yes, this means I watched the full game, just like Chievo btw. Which shows my so-called ‘conspiracy’ is as fake as Area 51, Juve’s 28/29th title or the Rocky Mountains of Kate Upton (Wait, are those real?). They won against Chievo and held on in Torino. True, the quality has dropped a bit but the signs were already there before Chievo. Ever since both Totti and Gervinho simultaneously got injured during Napoli to be exact. Roma failed to score more than one goal since the game against the Partenopei. That’s not an insult to Ljajic or, God forbit, dear Marco. Especially the latter works his ass off but he’s no Falcao or Ibra. November traditionally is a tough month for teams, just before the Holidays and after rougly 1/3 of the campaign. There is some sort of collapse, complacency. It can be summarized in one sentence: ‘So now what?!’

It seems the only thing Rudi hasn’t overcome in his short Roman career is the famous Roman curse. Cerci, Cerci, Cerci. I remember him as a teenager from the Primavera, with his curly hair. He and Okaka were lighting it up, winning the Primavera championship in 2005. Alessio was even called the ‘Henry of Valmontone’. But he was never considered starting material for us back then, let alone the next Roman superstar (hi Daniele). Balzaretti usually suffers against speedy wingers and sorely missed his fellow left-footed partner in crime Castan. Brazilian prodigy Abner is a nice future prospect but no immediate reinforcement. LB desperately needs a look at in January.

So now what? Well we’ll leave it all in the professional hands of Rudi and his boys. Just when you think our luck ran out in Torino, the FIGC gives us an extra boost. Next weekend: Roma-Sassuolo AND Juve-Napoli. After Sunday, Roma will benefit from whatever the outcome may be. Scudetto dreamers may prefer a draw, I’d opt for a win of either team. Scudetto whispers are allowed in Church but never forget the real objective of the management and Rudi before the season started: Europe. Prestige. Brand awareness. More specifically: Champions League. That marvelous sound that rivets in Europe’s finnest arenas. Except the Olimpico. Roma need to hang to out with the big boys once again. Also a nice present from the FIGC: a double home game combo coming up. Who knows, maybe the start of another winning streak? Somebody send those men and women a flower bouquet and chocolates please. As long as it’s no Rolex watch or salami, as history showed us.

My point of this whole Totti Tuesday is: Rolex. Relax. Lay back, look at the table and the fixtures ahead. Smile. Drink a Martini. Play some GTA V. Roma have the Italian record of most wins from the start of a Serie A season, it had to end sooner or later. I prefer Torino over Lazio or Juve to halt Rudi’s army for the first time. I’ll only start panicking when Rudi loses his mind for four or five consecutive games. Because after all the praise Garcia received, I can’t act as a blind man for his choice to put Pjanic higher up the field and start Bradley, thus shutting down the golden triangle of Miralem-Daniele-Kevin. Rotation is good, when you play three games a week FOR MORE THAN ONE MONTH. You know, like the Juventus, Bayerns or Chelsea’s of this world. Roma barely had midweek games until now and haven’t played a single Coppa minute yet.

Il Maggica experienced experiences an extraordinary start of the 13-14 campaign but surprisingly, they can’t afford a slump or bad period just yet. Otherwise, EL is closer than you think (and I don’t even think of talking about non-qualification for Europe at this point). Minor adjustments can and must be made but there’s no room for fancy schmancy stuff like Rudi did Sunday evening. Not because I don’t have confidence in other players but because Juve and Napoli are still doing annoyingly superb in the league and are very worthy opponents. Actually, scratch that. Just keep Michael Bradley as far away from a football pitch as possible. And yes, after Kate Upton earlier, I know that’s the second dumbest thing I can say on an American site.

“I’ve seen Roma play a lot this season and they’ve always left me with an excellent impression. However, they have struggled over the last couple of games – even if that is also down to the absence of Francesco Totti.” – Luciano Spalletti, 2013

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