Inter 0 - Roma 3: Of Three-Goal Wins & Four-Letter Words

Claudio Villa

One of my favorite little things about our little platform is about to become awfully useful...

Scudetto. Ooh. [Hushed murmuring. A woman faints in the crowd.] See that right there? To the left? See what that says? Scudetto. Scudetto. Oh no. How dare I! And would you look at the size of that S? Wonderful. Because damn your timidity and fear. Because it's a bad word, yeah? A four-letter word twice and with matching multiplier of hatred and scorn upon its utterance. The kind of taboo which would have us awash in flames on a stake for even the thought of it so soon in years past, and perhaps rightly so. But this isn't the Roma you know. This isn't even the Roma of the slightly older twin who jostled past you on the way out of the womb you second-placed bastard, you. Hell, maybe they really are AC Roma these days. Whatever they are, they're different, and they deserve more respect than that. They've earned better than a collective submission to superstition.

Scudetto.

This isn't to say they will win it, and it's not even to say they're the favorite, but rather that they have earned the right to have it discussed as reality, not some fantastical mirage set high upon an unreachable plateau. They're a part of the discussion and the discussion is a part of them. Because it's not about seven weeks or the names of their victims. It's not about results. This isn't form, it's quality. This isn't a spate of luck, but a systemic belief in their method and the collective resolve to see it executed, the fruits of their labors merely a byproduct of twelve thousand correctly-taken little steps. This isn't in the hands of god, but in the hearts of men.

For ninety minutes, we got what we desired: change. A new challenge. A stronger challenge. They were pegged back, dominated, and placed to the sword by a team largely of their paper equal. They were, on the balance and for large spaces, what anyone who was told three goals were scored in total and not told by whom would assume was the losing team. They suffered the kind of bullying of a very good Inter side one would expect at the San Siro. Yet they didn't just survive, but rather held their aggressor back with one stiff arm while levying three killing strokes with the other through what few chances they were offered. Five chances at goal. Three of them went in. They're clinical, they're precise, and savagely ruthless when offered even a patch of space. These results are not the sum of seven wins, but of six-hundred and thirty minutes of clinical footballing. This isn't a run of form. They're that good.

Oh, and they're getting better by the match in case you've yet to notice. Not by their singular performances, but in their quest to form a footballing machine capable of victory regardless of method or circumstance.

At some point we will be reminded once again that the name on the crest, though in a different typography, hasn't changed. Something will happen which happens to all clubs. Perhaps it will happen on a level which shall remind us all that while one can take the kid from the neighborhood, you can't quite take the neighborhood from the kid. They will be Roma again at some point, nestling you softly in the comfort of acute capitulation and failure, because perfection doesn't exist and certainly not for a club of Rome. That day will be their true test. There are thousands of quotes on the internet centered upon true strength of character not being determined by the fall, but the ability to pull one's self back up and fight on. Go find one. Apply it. And when that day comes, either alter the course of your thinking or maintain it. Doesn't matter.

But good teams don't shy away from challenges. They attack them with confidence and the swagger which sees a nice two-goal cushion heading into the half turned into a final curtain with a speed of silence because they want blood, but not of malice. They want blood because it's fun. Because it's simply the end to a delightful means. So it's the type of arrogance which is a result not of self-doubt, but of self-belief. And the type of collective joy which makes it all seem so damn easy.

This isn't Roma. This is something else entirely, and they've earned the right to talk about it. Not for us to multiply seven by three, but by how they traveled and conquered the roads for our ability to do so.  The 'how' is far more important than the 'what', and they are very much for real until they're not.

So say it. And if they lose the next one, say it. Say it because they've earned the right for us to believe. Don't talk to me about seven, or twenty-one, or thirty-one, or thirty-eight. Talk to me about six-hundred and thirty plus change.

Scudetto.

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