Let's run down the gamut of Roman news which has transpired over the past few days. Also, if you didn't know already, Francesco Totti is freakin' money.
King Alberto: His injury hit at the right time with the international break on the way, so he may only miss the Napoli game. Supposed to miss a month - or, more accurately, be up for reevaluation after a month - which would allow him back before the Milan, Lazio and Spoting mini trifecta; but knowing TGIP, he can expect to come in around the 85th mark in each of those games. Still, that nagging aspect is the worry, because the last thing Roma needs is a recurring groin injury for the Azzurri's newest superduperstar.
Simone Perrotta: How many times has he been hit by a minor injury this year? By my count it's three. An eerie coincidence considering he turned 30 less than a month ago and with his pin-balling workrate he must be nearing 250,000 on the odometer. Let's hope it's nothing more than just that, a coincidence. Out between 2-3 weeks (specifically 20 days, 13 hours, 47 minutes and 9 seconds), and it looks like he'll probably miss the Napoli game, considering TGIP's massive, inflatable kid gloves as of late when it comes to recently recovered players not named Francesco Totti.
Philippe Mexes: Should be ready once play resumes post international siesta. Most likely won't be playing for France, but we knew that already.
Mauro Esposito: Calf injury, supposedly held out for precautionary reasons. At this rate his first start is going to be in February. He and Simone just cannot stop picking up unwanted hindrances. Kind of like K-Fed and children.
Rodrigo Taddei: Should/will be back for the Napoli game.
Marco Cassetti: Ditto. Probably the last person who needed an injury early. His "replacements" have looked pretty damn good.
King Fuckhead: Still an inconclusive brain scan result.
Marco Andreolli: I haven't really been looking, but did they send him to Guantanamo Bay or something? How injured is he? What's wrong? Does he still belong to Roma? Does Spalletti care?
10/28 @ Milan
11/4 @ Empoli
11/7 @ Sporting
The two pairs of games so close to each other isn't all that welcome a gift, but it certainly could be worse (rewind the schedule about 2 weeks). After that, it's a Sunday walk in the park until the December 12th game against ManYoo inside the Olimpico. Judging by the way things look right now, 15 points from that schedule isn't all that unrealistic. Some may even say a reasonable expectation (or would have said so until seeing Milan thrash Lazyo this past weekend). I'll say 16 points, with a draw against Milan and Sporting. Anything less than 10 points and I'm going to need some IV anti-depressants.
Panucci & Mancini "Rifts" With TGIP
Most egomaniacal athletes (that's 95% of them) will have a disagreement with their coach at some point; and 100% of that time, the media will try to blow it out of proportion - it's their job to sell print. To me, that's all this is in both cases. You have a fight about something probably inconsequential due to frustration (see: 4 games, 2 points), you come in a few days later, have an awkward man hug, a third party makes a joke about it, everyone laughs and everything is back to normal. It's how locker rooms work. The whole "airing laundry" stuff means little and there is nothing between Luciano and Christian that will get in the way of a professional relationship at the very least.
Same goes for Mancini, the type of flake who, as he said, "needs to be put in his place" every now and again. I love Mancini, but he seems like a guy who is needed in small doses in an enclosed setting; and can every now again be the type of guy that says something so far over the top that everyone gets quiet with eyes like saucers. You know, like the type of guy who tells a double amputee to "break a leg". He'll sign his extension, we'll all move on and all will be forgiven with a firm Poobah ass slap. Group hug.
One of the many elite prospects to come off the assembly line at Roma's world class youth factory seems to be doing big things down in Serie B. Alessio Cerci is currently on loan at Pisa (he's an ugly bastard, isn't he - he looks like Rodrigo Taddei and Encino Man had a homosexual love child), already tearing up the opposition - 4 goals in the last 3 games - to a point where the Roma hierarchy has considered bringing him back from loan as early as January to join the senior squad - and he's only 20 years old.
The strange part? He has a ridiculously low buyout in his contract for Pisa, even though Roma probably has a buy back option as well. The stranger part? He was on loan to Brescia last year, with another buyout clause amounting to peanuts, and was sent back to Roma, with Brescia politely refusing to stump up the cash (or that's how it has been reported, Serie B loan deals aren't exactly high up on the media accuracy meter). What happened all of a sudden that makes his value skyrocket this much? Or why had it dropped so low? And does that have anything to do with his lack of call-ups from the Azzurrini?
Assuming that Roma can bring back Cerci, one has to admit this is a puzzling move. Either that or complete media BS. The kid's youtube resume looks good (though I think that's the point), but not enough to vault him past the likes of Mirko or Mauro just yet - especially considering TGIP's aversion to Arsenewengeritis, a disorder in the same family as paedophilia, recently. He can play as a lateral forward or a second striker, not unlike that Totti guy, with a little bit of speed, and one who can dribble, cut in, make runs and knock it with both feet. All of which is nice for the future, but nothing that would be more valuable than significant playing time for Pisa in the second half of the year. If, in the next two months, he continues his dominance and shows he has nothing more to learn in Serie B, then I'll change my tune, but I think most highly doubt that will be the case. Until then, let the kid tear up the lower league and keep the tifosi drooling.
Hell of a prospect, but my money is still on Stefano Okaka Chuka.
* - If anybody recalls that little discussion we had a couple weeks ago as to "who could possibly fill in for Francesco when he retires"...food for thought. But a topic for another day.
This is Philou playing the role of Antonio Cassano for the scout team in anticipation of the Sampdoria game.
I know it's a bit early, but I couldn't wait until Christmas - I had to get that off my chest.
I wasn't going to mention this because it's so far beyond absurd it's nearly incomprehensible, but nonetheless, take a look:
GK: Gigi Buffon - Serie B (Not that he isn't the best in the world, but still, if this is based on last year...)
LB: Alessandro Nesta - Because he's not only a LB, but also the best in the world at the moment.
CB: Fabio Cannavaro - Apparently the voters failed to renew their Real TV subscription. At this point, I'm beginning to wonder how many Italians are actually on the voting panel.
CB: Carlos Puyol - Eh, there were better.
RB: John Terry - Not only is he a CB, but he wasn't even the best on his own team last year (Carvalho); some might even say 3rd best, falling behind a midfielder (Essien).
LW: Lionel Messidona - Legit. Pencil him in here for awhile.
CM: Steven Gerrard - I'm a self-professed lover of all things Stevie G, but even I'll admit he was under par last season. I can't even say he should have been on the Prem XI. Essien deserves a spot.
CM: Kaka - Golden Champions League Ball for sure, but I'm not sure he's a CM. I don't even think Ancelotti knows what he is. Nevertheless, deserving wherever. (He'd be on an NFL draftboard as "athlete".)
RW: The Fake Ronaldo - Also on the World's Biggest Pole Smokers XI, wearing the captain's armband.
ST: Didier Drogba - Well, looks like Ruud got slighted, since his partner must obviously be Francesco Totti...
ST: Ronaldinho - ...uhhhhhh.
Totti's one thing. Totti AND Ruud omitted? Obviously this is more of a popularity contest and no one watches Real Madrid anymore. Just a ridiculous list.
For the record, my XI for last year (key phrase):
GK: Petr Cech, I guess. Pepe Reina was great late in the CL, but Cech was pretty spectacular after the injury.
LB: Tempted to hold this spot for Maldini's son. For now, it's honorary to pops.
CB: Ricardo Carvalho. He was really something to behold last season.
CB: Sergio Ramos. Ditto.
RB: Dani Alves. Guy's good, but the defensive flanks are weak comparatively.
LW: Lionel Messi. Getafe. Getafe. Getafe.
CM: Michael Essien. Might make this team at a couple spots.
CM: Andrea Pirlo. Serie A and Azzurri fans know.
RW: Kaka. His position is negligible. Slot him anywhere from the midfield up, he plays there at some point.
ST: Ruud van Nistelrooy. That late season clutch run was insanity.
ST: Il Capitano. As if he needs justification.
As you know, opinions are like ass holes, everyone's got one. That's mine. Let's see yours - the opinion, that is. And if anyone puts David Pizarro on there I'm going to track you down and have you committed.
This one kind of flew under the radar, but Roma picked up a young stud keeper for the youth setup this weekend. He's 12 years old and supposedly moved to the city recently from Spain via France.
Can he touch the crossbar? Yay? Nay? I need an answer to this. I really do. Also, how many pairs of shorts/pants is he wearing? And is he supposed to resemble the Mayor of Munchkinville?
Courtesy of Linda.