Totti Tuesday: ‘Nurses, Star Trek & bondage’

Paolo Bruno

Ay ow, let’s go! Ay ow, to Livorno!

Normally, I always ask for a pacifier and diaper when I see Roma and Livorno stepping on the pitch together. Be it with Spalletti, Ranieri or Garcia. Which is madness seeing Roma’s stats against the Tuscan side are rather positive to say the least: no away loss since 1949, 18 wins in 35 encounters and only one loss in the last ten games (1-0 in season ‘09-‘10). I don’t like them, Romanisti don’t like ‘em. They’re bad juju. They’re the metalhead during a 1D-concert, the diehard Texas Republican during a gay pride parade, seeing your ex on a drunk night out or your mother intereing your room during a ‘private manlihood session’. When you see them, you know things aren’t going to be pretty. Nothing personal, just pure science.

Losing likeable Lamela, enter Ljajic?

Before I dig deeper than Sherlock Holmes and Columbo combined into the Livorno case, first a word or two about the other headline of last week: Erik. There’s a suiting saying to all of this: An apple a day keeps Tottenham the doctor away. Baldini had to sign Lamela, he just had to. It’s his job. Find good players who can make your club better than the others. The deal reminds me a lot of ‘Hos one. Young, popular, Roman starlet being torn between two lovers. Maybe they both didn’t even want to move out of Rome. PSG and Tottenham threw ridiculous offers* at Roma, who must choose between the romantic side (keep high-profile names, turn them into studs, lifetime fan favorites and the second coming of Jesus Christ) and the realistic side (give me monaaaaaaay b*tches!).

*Let’s be clear about this: Yes, 30-35million may be peanuts for teams like PSG, Real or Chelsea but in my eyes, that amount of money for a football player is nuts. They’re no better than nurses, teachers, bricklayers or engineers. It’s a job like any other. We live in harsh economic times, warfare, poverty, starvation, bankruptcies. No human is worth such a steep price. Ever. It’s time for some much-needed financial fair-play. Ok, rant is over.

Lamela is insanely popular among Roma fans, just take a look at this blog. With his sale, the ownership are treading on thin ice. It is simply a choice between heart and mind. Would Roma ever get another big offer like Tottenham’s after September? What would happen if Lamela got injured gravely against Livorno? Would he ever return to his best form? Maybe the owners wanted a financial buffer in case Roma again fail to qualify for Europe next season? Or is there somewhere a player who is as good as (or even better than) Lamela for less money? Enter Ljajic. Di Maria would be nice too but expensive. Nani had his moments at Manchester but he ain’t no regular anymore while it seems the management are blinded by his high-profile name and reputation as Ronaldo’s heir. In any case, Gervinho is clearly not Lamela’s replacement. He’s Rudi’s boy and while he didn’t come cheap, he’ll probably see a lot of minutes on the flank and maybe even prove useful for tired legs. Garcia knows him and he seems like a reasonable person. He won’t ask for an 8m player just for nostalgia. Rudi has a plan.

*In case some of you are in dire need of a Gervinho nickname, I found one from the Star Trek universe. Captain Worf. ‘To boldly dive where no player has dived before!’

Ironic isn’t it? Roma sell both Pablo ‘Ali’ Osvaldo and Erik ‘Frazier’ Lamela while they take another risk with Adem. Roma badly need some Jack Nicholson at Trigoria.

Sit down, dear sir and madam. Take a look at Roma’s roster. Now memorize it. Look away and wait until September 1st. Because Sabatini could turn this squad upside down in a matter of days . That’s how he rolls. Walter always hits top gear on the final day. Very few people expected the trio of Lamela, Hos and Osvaldo to leave in one single mercato. Pjanic and DDR are still big fat question marks as well. Maybe we underestimated the busines plan of the Americans. Everything DOES have a price. And the US and A are always willing talk and discuss. Like it or not, Roma is quickly finding themselves in another carousel of agents, players and directors of football. Change is the only constant. We are not a feeder club just yet but if CL doesn’t come around soon, might as well call ourselves AS Farmville.


Taking on the Tuscans threat

You know what’s also a constant? Average Italian players playing out of their mind against Roma. Leandro Greco. The only thing noticable he did for the Giallorossi in seven years was score against Basel in the CL three years ago. Rudi seems to have blocked this curse. Livorno didn’t give us the troubles we all expected, Roma’s numbers were better.
A good start is essential. Pursuing the others by week two is not good for the morale and the pressure. Three born and bred Romans started the match (not including Greco), De Sanctis does do clean sheets, Roma’s famous weakpoint RB seems ok with Maicon while De Rossi finally got back on the scoresheet. A lot of positives can be drawn from this match. Remember, these are the types of games you need to win to compete for top five or even three. Roma’s starting eleven was older than this time last season (approx 29.2 years), mainly thanks to Morgan, Totti and Maicon. I’ve always been a proponent of youth but I’m even more a proponent of a great mix of youth and experience.

No, it wasn’t a five star performance just yet but the team and Rudi can only get better from now on. With another easy match before the international break coming up, we can already make a (albeit) small gap with the others. Add the imminent arrival of Adem Ljajic and I should probably say a certain word now. Four letters, banned at Church and even more cursed than Voldemort in a Harry Potter movie (1-8, pick one). I won’t. Nope, I’m not gonna say it, it’s best if I just………….

Hope. I said it. Whatever. Sue me.

Fun fact of the day

• Roma’s reserves played on Sunday as well. 2-0 against Sassuolo, goals from Brighi and Cerci.

Hello Hellas

Next weekend Roma face another fresh face of Serie A-college, namely the mighty Hellas Verona. Who are kinda the new girl in class no one wants to hang out with, even though she has a few surprising tricks (see: Milan) up her sleeve for both genders like a hidden, intimate tattoo of Harry Styles (girls) and secret interest in bondage (boys). Mind you, this is not autobiographical. At all. Also, I'm calling 1-2 on the Hellas game. Luckily some things in Rome do stay predictable right?

See you guys next week when I’ll provide you a Roma roster review. I want to wait as long as possible for Saba’s 48 hours Red Bull marathon to end to have a final insight of this team. Of course, with the obligatoire female touch: This time, instead of dates, I’ll compare the players with exes (ouch, I know).

"I chose Roma because they wanted me with their heart, which is important for a player. Am I a gamble for Roma? No, I have nothing to prove to anyone. I just have to show what I can do on the field. Francesco Totti is a great champion and beyond description. I’m happy to be playing alongside him." – Maicon, 2013

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