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It's All About Francesco

tmpphpemdgzk.jpg(Nice to be talking about him besides "will he play?" again, eh?)

Done Means Done

After the hullaboo settled down in Scotland regarding "those bastardly cheating Italians", the topic du jour was "oooh ooh Nesta and Totti will return!". Nyet. As nice as it would be, and it would be very nice, it's not going to happen, at least for Francesco.

"I know the rules of the group and out of respect I couldn't think of a return with the Azzurri," the Roma captain said. "I took the decision to retire after the World Cup in Germany. The Federation asked me to have patience, and I did. My relationship with Donadoni and the Federation was always clear and honest."

It was never going to happen for the European Championships, and it's unlikely it would (will) ever happen under Roberto Donadoni, for a variety of reasons - especially only a few months after he announced his retirement.

However, I think we all expect this to be far from the last time we hear about Francesco and the Azzurri in the future, and one of those times, specifically right before South Africa, his hemming and hawing may start to pull him another way. But we're about 2 years from any of those considerations.

Oscar del Calcio

It's awards season and you know what that means. Actually, I don't know what that means it just sounded like it fit there. Maybe a lot of people getting drunk in fancy clothing? Probably. Anyway, the Serie A award nominations were announced yesterday with a few of The Good Guys represented:

Best Italian Player:
Daniele De Rossi (Roma), Andrea Pirlo (Milan), Francesco Totti (Roma)

Best Foreign Player:
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Inter), Kaka (Milan), Adrian Mutu (Fiorentina)

Best Goalkeeper:
Sebastien Frey (Fiorentina), Julio Cesar (Inter), Angelo Peruzzi (Lazio)

Best Youngster:
Riccardo Montolivo (Fiorentina), Giampaolo Pazzini (Fiorentina), Giuseppe Rossi (Villarreal)

Best Defender: Marco Materazzi (Inter), Philippe Mexes (Roma), Alessandro Nesta (Milan)

We can make this incredibly simple: There is no way in hell Roma walks away empty handed, and I'll give you one guess as to who that might be. DDR will get it eventually, but he's a deserved 3rd on this list right now (although, if we're counting both sides of the ball...). Philou was also fantastic, but, as much as I hate to admit this, Matrix did score double digits from the CB position, which is pretty stellar no matter how they came. Anyway, if he doesn't win it Philou would still have the mountain that is Alessandro Nesta's legacy to climb. I'd put him 2nd/3rd at the moment.

And if maybe somebody could do me a favor and CC: this list to Roberto Donadoni with a bunch of underlines, exclamations points, stars and hearts around "Daniele De Rossi" so, you know, maybe he gets the clue that he's looking at one of the best midfield duos in the world but doesn't realize it. Thanks.

Predicted Outcomes:

Best Italian: Francesco Totti, and any other outcome is nothing less than a conspiracy of mass proportions. The nomination list might as well have been one deep.

Best Foreigner: Another one probably in the bank, even though his big damange was done not in Serie A but on the European stage and in church pews. He owns church pews. (It's Kaka if you hadn't noticed yet.) Zlatan was great, and probably better on the domestic scene, but I find it hard to believe they'll vote the eventual Golden Ball winner as the second best foreigner in his own league.

Best Keeper:
I wanted to go with Gigi but, you know, Juventus was in Serie B last year. So my choice is Frey, who is also the likely recipient.

Best Youngster:
Difficult one, as there are two camps of people when it comes to voting on players who were only there for half a season. (And just so you know, I'm on the fence - and I could care less.) Over the course of a full year it's Giuseppe Rossi and Giuseppe Rossi alone, but the voters may be tempted to give it to someone who did it over 9 months rather than 4+ in the boot with the other 4 spent gathering dust in a Newcastle reserves kit.

I'm still going with Rossi (reluctantly), but if not, Riccardo.

Best Defender:
Inter's not leaving here without an award, and it's going to be Materazzi (deserving, unfortunately).

The overall award? They'd better not dare do anything but give it to the man who led the league in both goals and assists coming off a broken ankle. Or else I'll be on the first plane to wherever the hell the awards are looking like this:

(Minus the tiny biceps.)

Genoa Genoa Genoa

Bad news: It's not looking good. He was out on the practice field today and did some minor training, but is still in doubt for the game, so it looks like we may be getting another round of The Mirko Vucinic Show. In fact, it's not looking good for a few people whose injuries were supposed to be either minor or healed much quicker than they have, namely King Alberto and Taddei, both in the same boat. (Yes, KA's was a tough injury, but we was reportedly ready for combat against Cagliari.)

As far as what this means in Romaland, it's not all bad considering the fellas have had a couple weeks off to rest and recuperate after their 6 games in 18 days run. So, we hopefully won't see a sans-Francesco 2nd half collapse like the one in Tuscany against either Genoa this weekend or the game in Kiev a week from today on the 27th. After that, however, is Udinese and it would be very nice to see him...