Champions League spot? Check
Coppa Italia in the bag? Check
Kicking the crap out of Inter on a semi-regular basis? Check
There is nothing left to play for technically. So, sit down, relax, and enjoy one of the most exciting games in Serie A this year. Why, you ask? Here’s why:
Now, it's all about Totti. The Capocannoniere is his to lose. Expect anybody and everybody to serve up as many balls as humanly possible to Totti in a shameless attempt to get him the European Golden Boot*(Totti needs 4 goals in 2 games to pass Afonso Alves of Heerenveen, whose season is over). After his years of loyal service to his hometown club and the criticism he has taken from within Italy’s walls, he deserves this individual accolade. The lineup should be filled with youngsters and players looking to prove themselves worthy of consideration for a spot next year(Rosi, Vucinic, Faty, Curci, Okaka Chuka, etc). What better way to look good than serving up gimmes to Il Gladiatore? Four goals in two is more than achievable for Totti and everybody not named Doni/Curci will be flying towards the Sardinian's box to make it happen. Scratch that, expect to see whoever is in goal meandering past the half, lobbing balls to Francesco.
Oh, and that Suazo guy is playing. He’s good. Real good. (Was anybody else surprised by the musical selection for that video? I was expecting something a bit more dramatic, at least with a timpani or the like.)
* - Only three people in contention for the European Golden Boot unless someone from La Liga gets en fuego(Kanoute and Diego Milito don’t strike me as guys who are gonna slot 7 goals in 4 games). Or, unless Crespo continues his ridiculous assault on Serie A. Smart move Hernan, I’m sure Chelsea really wants to let you stay now(What do you think Moratti has offered to Abramovich in return for keeping Crespo? Adriano and some oil fields? Maybe if that doesn’t fly, exclusive VIP rights to all of Adriano’s parties?). As far as the Golden Boot, here are the contenders:
Afonso Alves - 34 goals(31 games, ridiculous); 1.5 multiplier: 51 pts
Francesco Totti - 22 goals; 2.0 multiplier(2 games remaining): 44 pts
Ruud van Nistelrooy - 21 goals; 2.0 multiplier(4 games remaining): 42 pts
Alves is the clear favorite(who knew?) but anyone who has watched Real Madrid over the last few weeks would probably have to agree with me that Ruud is in prime form. He needs 5 goals in 4 games(Ruud has 6 in the last 4), and Real have been playing like men possessed with Ruud leading the charge. However, I can’t underestimate the Power of Totti, and I think he will score against Cagliari and then bag a brace against Messina before Roma draws a penalty in the 90th minute, Aussie-style. Totti slots it high right to keep the Golden Boot in Italy. And I am not biased whatsoever.
-Congrats to Alessandro Costacurta on bagging a PK in his swansong. What a career. What a wife.