I Think I Can

Claudio Villa

"Whether you think you can or think you can't - you are right." - Henry Ford

Dislike him or hate him, Mario Balotelli is a good footballer. He's tall, fast, strong, and more importantly, extremely talented. But that's a generic description, I could have Tachtsidised that from any good player's bio.

There's something else about him that would get him invited to party with Zlatan, Bendtner, C.Ronaldo and Joey Barton. A party to solve the financial crisis, I mean. And global warming as an afterthought. Because the trait that stands out among all these players is a ridiculous level of confidence.

"There's only one that is a little stronger than me: Messi. All the others are behind me." Some call it self-belief, some call it douchbaggetry. Mario calls it fact. It's like someone hints that they slipped some Felix Felicis into his (nutella)coffee every morning. Sometimes it gets him into trouble, but if talent is the plant, confidence is the manure in which it grows. And Balo's got plenty of shit to say.

Footballers are like Tinkerbell. The fans, the coach, their families, they have to all believe. And first and foremost the player must believe. But it's almost never a choice. Sure, it's easy enough for a player to tell himself that he's good enough when the team is on a winning streak, but when things start getting bad, only the players who have read 1984 and can successfully Doublethink survive. "I had a terrible game, I missed 3 clear cut chances. Dude, I'm so good at football." Gervinho has not read 1984.

Daniele De Rossi is the perfect example of how confidence and form effect a player. He's insanely talented, which is important because confidence alone will get you nowhere (I'm looking at you Nicklas). For Itay he is a monster. The general in the midfield, a perfect hybrid of Gattuso and Pirlo, with some crazy Aquilani longshots thrown in there for good measure. For a whole year, he gave Man of the match performances a week after and a week before disappointing for his hometown club. And now suddenly he's seemingly back to his old self, even after barely featuring during the pre-season. It makes no logic. It can't be a lack of talent and the roles in which he plays are similar enough for someone of his capacity to adapt to. It can only be mental.

And it isn't just him. Look at the progress that Roma has made under Rudi Garcia and the newfound belief that he's instilled in his players. In the first game of the season, more than half of Roma's attacks were performed by Maicon. You might curse at Saba and the lack of a proper striker for this, but I would attribute it to Maicon's mental strength and world-class experience. Not many fatties would dribble full speed at professional defenders.

Need more proof? Three out of five of Roma's goals this year have been from outside of the box. That sounds like more far range goals than all of last year. Ljajic's first game produced a wonderful goal born from the form and confidence carrying over from a very successful 12-13 season. Pjanic, a manager finally believing in him, scored a crazy Totti-esq chip. DDR... I'm not going to pretend to know what Rudi did, but one thing's for sure: DDR is back, and we can thank Rudi for it.

Success will breed success, and Livorno got the (snow)ball rolling. Rudi Garcia seems to have found the perfect balance between mopey and Balotelli. It's proven extremely effective against Roma's bane, the minnows. We'll see if it can replicate last year's form against the top teams. Talent alone has been keeping us afloat lately. If Rudi can keep them happy and confident... H _ P E. I love playing Hangman.

Make like a train Roma. "I think I can, I think I can..."

P.S. Not mentioning Osvaldo in a confidence related post was deliberate. The man's a headcase, I'm not even going to try to analyze him, I've only taken one Psych class.

P.P.S. A snippet of the conversation regarding the formatting of this post:

C: How the hell did you get the D all the way over there.
V: thats what she said

That is all.

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