Can't really say anything other than after the game was over I let out a big sigh of relief like a teenager after the pregnancy test shows up with one line (a teenager not in the Spears family, anyway). Or pink or blue or whatever. Honestly, it was as if the calcio gods had opened up a sliver in the clouds, allowing one solitary ray of sunshine to flow down. For awhile now, it's been as though Roma was skirting by and while their performances have been subpar, they've still been taking points. A situation which can breed complacency, when something is wrong, but not that wrong. You try to tinker with it, get out the magnifying glass, scan a critical eye over the situation, but that's never going to work. Sometimes, details aren't enough. Sometimes you need a big ass wake up call. Two games in a row now Roma has had their asses handed to them by lower-table club Torino, and only took a solitary point because Torino finishes like it's in the middle of a seizure. That's a necessary wake up call.
Sure, it was the JV with a few kids off the freshman team, but we're still talking about some pretty high quality talent here. Including DDR, Cicinho, Simone, Vuci, Mancini...no excuses, really. Especially considering this is a growing trend over the last few weeks, and again when considering Roma's run of form after the 3-4 game stretch between breaks (a subject for another day, but check the schedule before the last int'l siesta, quite comparable in terms of Roma looking like dog shite - which might have something to do with Spal running certain players into the ground). A stretch of 4 games which has seen the high-flying Roman traveling circus score a whole 3 goals. This was a big ass wake up call, and let's hope it manifests itself this weekend against Sampdoria. The same exact club which had the pleasure of meeting a furiously embarrassed Roma after the debacle at Old Trafford last spring. A 4-0 repeat would be nice. A statement game, one which says "we are still Roma, the same team which can run through absolutely anybody on any given day", would be much, much better.
I think this loss was a good thing, and I hope a bon fire was lit under everyone's asses. (And you know, the cup ain't over - I'd bet a significant amount of money they go through.)
* - From the highlights, can I just say how much of a joy it is to see Mancini pick up the ball and just sprint towards net. I'd like to see a little more north-south movement and maybe tone down the east-west stuff which has seemingly been so prevalent the last few weeks.
Onto Less Depressing, More Insane News; aka, The Rumors
This photo was taken by Martha and sent to me as an early Christmas gift, and oh is it glorious. The idiots at the medias decided to run with the story that Inter is getting ready to offer up 20m for one King Alberto Aquilani in the summer after KA and the hierarchy couldn't come to terms on a contract agreement. KA's agent went into "stupid media mode" and denied the fabricated rumors. But it gets better, below is the pie chart, from the paper edition of Gazzetta, for where Berto will end up next year...
ARE YOU @#$%ING KIDDING ME?
Alberto has the same chance of staying in Rome as he does of moving to Inter? How the fuck do these people get jobs? More importantly, how the fuck do they function in real life being this utterly moronic? One of the dumbest things I have ever seen in my time here at this page. Hell, it's one of the dumbest things I've seen in my life.
Paris Hilton.: The sure thing, deal imminent.
Lindsay Lohan.: The 95%, final details in the works.
Pussycat Dolls.: Very likely, things are heading towards Paris.
Fergie.: Looks alright, but don't touch it.
Mariah Carey.: All types of insane. Doesn't even look good.
Jessica Simpson.: The 50/50.
Jamie Murray.: Just below the 50/50, might happen, but most likely will not.
Elisha Cuthbert.: A tough sell, but the right offer could seal the deal.
Ali Larter.: Very unlikely now, but come back a little bit down the line.
Keira Knightley.: Almost impossible. Almost.
Jessica Alba.: Pure fantacalcio.
Cristiano Lucarelli ST (Shakhtar Donetsk): First thing's first, this rumor was completely made up by Lucarelli's agent, with a quote that went a little something like this:
“Lucarelli wouldn’t have any problem in joining Roma, especially as Shakhtar are prepared to hand him over on a loan basis,” Pallavicino noted.
“I also don’t think that his salary would be a problem either and this could be the right time for the club and himself.
“Although there has been no contact with Roma so far, the Giallorossi would be a great opportunity for Lucarelli.”
And let me commend both channel 4 and goal.com for not running with this and proclaiming a deal for Lucarelli as "imminent". Either they've acquired some significant self-restraint and logic or last night was there Christmas party and they're all too drunk to work. I'm banking on the latter.
As far as Lucarelli goes, this is one of those sneaky moves that comes around every once in a while, and will only make sense on a loan basis, but could be possible as sort of a movement/rejuvenation thing. It's like in baseball when a team buys a reliever just for the stretch run to bolster the bullpen, knowing they'll lose him to free agency after the season, but do it anyway because he coould be The Difference Maker. Only he proceeds to serve up BP sloppy joes on a regular basis and becomes the first Cy Young winner in the history of Cy Young winners to be tied up, locked in the basement of the ballpark by the ownership and replaced with an android so he can't possibly be used during the game in the playoffs (I'm convinced). Then proceeds to get busted for steroids. Basically, it's a win-win situation for everybody. (We'll call said reliever Erik Ganyay, purely fictional.)
Lucarelli is exactly what Roma needs on the field and on la rosa, but I'm not sure Roma is exactly what Lucarelli needs. He's in the Azzurri fold if only by default, and I can't imagine playing 3rd fiddle to The Guy and a highly gifted youngster is going to increase his chances any. But if his agent says it works, it works. There's also the possibility of approaching the subject of tactical flexibility, and with a finisher in the house, and a finisher being desperately needed, I'd suspect Spalletti would at least think about it, right?
And also it's a loan deal, which means Roma won't have to pay out nearly what they would normally have to for someone of his quality, and can refocus some of those funds either to Mancini's replacement or the summer. And then, should he leave again in the summer, you can reassess where Stefano Okaka Chuka is at, as well as look towards some freebies to fill up that 3rd spot instead of spending big bucks.
All in all I think a big thumbs up provided he doesn't whine about PT and is the consummate teammate. I just won't expect him to have a huge impact if he comes. I do see a loan for Lucarelli as almost the ideal situation right now for what Roma requires. The only problem is does Rosella know that. Let's hope she heard this and picked up the phone. SSR: Jamie Murray
Then, after I'd written that, his agent goes and says this:
"I think that he won't come back to Italy but that he will remain at Shakhtar" has declared the Italian striker's agent Carlo Pallavicino. "There many clubs interested in the player but not enough money."
Asshole. Doesn't he know to work by my writing schedule?
So I have no idea. But I doubt this will be the last we hear of his name.
* - Also, for fuck's sake, can they get someone who can score in Tuscany? Christ.
Pablo Oldoni ST (Atletico Paranaense): Tall, and talented 22 year old striker which Roma is keeping an eye on. There really isn't much more to this than the name, but it's a name I've heard before and I don't know why. Probably means his name has popped up in some sort of big(ish) rumor. And from what I can tell, he's called the new Kaka, and not because of his skills, but because he's a pretty boy. Scored 18 goals in 43 games the last two years. The YouTuber videos say what you'd expect: big body who has that much ballyhooed "nose for goal", nice technique, good footwork, but with surprising smoothness and athletic ability. Runs very well for a targetman, if that's what he appears to be. I like, but then again, isn't the point of YouTuber clips to like?
The rumor was really vague, so I don't know what to make of it. But a name to keep in the back of the mind. SSR: Ali Larter
* - Wikipedia, which I've decided actually has more journalistic credibility than c4 and goal.com, says he's rumored to ManYoo. Well that works for me.
** - Also, might want to check the birth certificate. Some of those clips look like they were followed on the same channel by a fresh episode of CHiPs. (Ditto for the music.)
Michel Garbini Pereira LB (Atletico Paranaense): I guess this scouting trip was about saving on mileage and boarding, same team. 26yo LB, and other than that, there is nothing I can find on this guy. That usually doesn't bode well. SSR: Not that I can really say, but Keira