Il Capitano had a few choice words for the Powers-That-Be yesterday, regarding his imminent decision on his Nazionale status. Taking a personal offense to all things Demetrio Albertini, vice-something of the FIGC. Here's his mini-speech:
"In any case, I don’t bother too much with him anymore. He is someone who talks too much and now all I do is ignore what he says."
"As players we are the main protagonists of this sport, but also the ones who never let their voices be heard. This is the time when we should be making a stand. We wanted the season to begin a week earlier to let the Italy squad be more prepared for the Euro 2008 qualifiers and have an extra week off at Christmas. Those who made this decision couldn’t care less about the needs of Coach Roberto Donadoni. I’ve decided – either they listen to us or I’m leaving the Players’ Association immediately."
He does make some very good points regarding the FIGC's decision to ignore the wishes of the players as well as Donadoni. Whether it's enough for somebody to question leaving the PA for I question. It sounds like a great excuse for him to walk away from the Azzurri with a good basis of reason, other than "club before country." Or more to the point, he's getting up there in age and to continue his amazing run of form from last season he will need more and more rest as the days press on, which is directly hindered by frequent national camps as well as the long summer tournaments which really prohibit any length of rest at all.
As far as what this means for his future, I doubt that he will retire from the Azzurri right now, but it's certainly not impossible. I think taking this long is more posturing than an absolute ultimatum to the FIGC. Last summer was supposed to be his moment, but the broken ankle really took a way from his effectiveness. And while he would go out as Campione del Mondo, he was far from himself and was substituted in the final - certainly not a personal high. I do think the No. 10 shirt for the Azzurri on September 8th against Les Bleus will read Totti, but I don't think he'll be playing in the majority of the Euro 2008 qualifiers. Hopefully he comes to an accord with his buddy Gigi Riva and he will be allowed to rest for certain international fixtures (i.e. "big games") in anticipation of the Euros. Benefiting both the Azzurri with his presence and Roma with more rest than the typical star international sees.
If he does retire in the upcoming weeks, how ironic will it be that the man who replaced on the pitch in Berlin is none other than Daniele De Rossi. The man who will take over his Roman captaincy and the No. 10 shirt for both Roma and the Azzurri (which he's already done) and status as most beloved Romanista. I've got to wonder if that was the perfect "passing of the torch" moment.
The Pocket Rocket:
More info on the transaction, it was €3.2m right now and Barcelona will net €400,000 each year if Roma makes the Champions League for the following season - which makes the total payout ceiling €4.4m. Fair enough, especially if he plays a large part in the CL next year, which a lot of people consider his best asset. Another interesting part was this, from Ernesto Bronzetti:
"Last night the difference between the request and the offer was down to £210,000, I opted to give up on my fee to allow the player to sign. Giuly had been mentioned as a technical counterpart when Barcelona were interested in Chivu, after the negotiations failed I immediately offered the Frenchman to Roma," explained Bronzetti.
So what exactly does he do here? Does he get a flat rate to negotiate deals between Barca or Real Madrid and another club? Or does he get 10% of the official transaction value? Why don't I have his job? And why does he want Giuly in Rome so much that he's willing to cough up €300,000+ out of his own pocket? Is he BFF with Ludovic? Is he Romanista? Where the hell was he when Chivu wouldn't accept Real's wage offer? His fee couldn't have helped out there? Is it me or does his name sound scandalous in itself? Have I become so influenced by Calciopoli and the Moratti-dealings this summer that even I've come to question the legitimacy of anybody with an Italian name, including my own?
I have too many questions about what this Bronzetti cat is doing and what are the motivations behind whatever he is doing. (I know he is FIFA's transfer mediary)
This Giuly cat is slowly endearing himself to me. Anyone see the front page of il Romanista? "Lazio? I have beaten them already." Atta boy.
Oh, and David Pizarro said LG would be welcomed "with open arms." Oh god. That's too much.
(He also mentioned in his interview he's buddy buddy with Chris Nonda and Christian Panucci from his days at Monaco. I had forgotten about that. Maybe it'll be enough to get Shabani thinking it's 2003 again. 34 games, 26 goals. Dreeeeeam weaver......)
I) Valerio Virga looks to be headed out on loan to Grosetto, a club making their first ever appearance in Serie B next year (Serie C1 champions). One would hope this means beaucoup playing time for Valerio, as I would assume he is more talented than most of the Serie C1 lifers and they will need every bit of ability they can get to stay up next year. Obviously a big worry when sending someone out on loan, whether or not they will actually play (see: Giuseppe Rossi at Newcastle). This is sure a far cry from the rumored Palermo, eh? Enjoy Tuscany.
II) Mancini to Milan rumors. Why am I not surprised? Despite Calciopoli (or maybe because of), I think Silvio Berlusconi and Uncle Fester will most likely keep things on the legal side, unlike their Milanese counterpart. I doubt there is any basis for this outside of speculation about 'the mystery player.'
III) And this is why I don't understand why Mancini's extension talks are put on hold until next week. His agent is reportedly staying in or around Rome, so if they're so close, why not just tie up any loose ends before anyone comes in with a Chivu-like offer? Obviously I don't know the details, but it would seem to be logical.
Normally there would be a low-blow to the management after that 'logical' comment, but they have done some extraordinary business this summer for relatively short money. The total sums of Mirko Vucinic and David Pizarro obviously weren't cheap, but the fact that they landed Juan at €6.3m, Ahmed Barusso and Mauro Esposito at €2.5m each and Giuly at €3.2m is quality work for four good to possibly great players. It's been a slow learning process for Rosella but I guess she has begun to catch on (at least we hope). Good work, woman (now get rid of that buck-futter Chivu).
IV) Apparently Fabio Quagliarella reads this column, because he came out to the media to refute any claims he might be on the move. Should be about a week before he lavishly praises Spalletti's baldness and muses on how much he would like to rub his head at Trigoria. Then a week later saying how much he would like to move to Bellinzona, because they're a big club and they have pretty unis. We're adding a new nickname to the Fab Quags arsenal: The King of Bullshit. Which I was affectionately dubbed by my grandfather and mother throughout my childhood and adolescence. Needless to say until I hit high school I was being touted as a future lawyer.
If you can't dazzle 'em with brilliance, baffle 'em with bullshit. To which I say: Why not dazzle 'em with bullshit? Thus a mantra was born.
V) Just a thought: What if Mauro Esposito is really healthy now and is able to pick up on his form of a couple years ago now that he is surrounded by a top club? Is 8-10 goals outlandish? Not at all. The team as constituted right now is very good with the potential to be phenomenal. If Espo even reacquires 75% of that '04-05 Cagliari form this year Roma just got their high-quality winger. I'm not holding my breath, but it's nice to dream.
VI) Apparently Inter is a little further away from Radoslav Kovac than originally thought, like €10m apart in terms of valuation with Spartak Moscow. I bet Moratti would try to offer €20 for a €100 banknote. So they and are now after Fernando Meira, who I have always been a big fan of and is supposedly available for a paltry €9m. For that much I say Roma jumps into the fray and plays a 3 CB defense. From the Roma angle, it seems as though MM saying the Chivu negotiations are off was not a bluff at all. Hopefully Moratti also loses out on Meira and has to come crawling back to Rosella. Somebody get on a plane to Stuttgart and handcuff Meira to the goalposts. Peaches. Thanks.
VII) Kappa's head cheese had an interview yesterday in which he talked about the plans and vision for the kit next year. He intends to respect the tradition of Roma, which I would take to mean the design will be relatively simple. I suppose this works out for them as well because they're kind of in a rush to get them done for the 80th anniversary celebration on July 26th. The 3rd kit might be dark blue, which could be cool - as well as an obvious homage to the 00-01 scudetto kits. I did love the old black & dark blue Kappa unis (Nakata!). There will also be an introduction to the Kombat style, which is very very very very tight fitting (hence the name). Think Nike Dri-Fit about 2 sizes too small. The female fanbase just skyrocketed.
* - That 02-03 Champions League Cassano kit is just hideous. They should've burned those immediately post-production.
VIII) Is it me or would it be a smart idea with those tight fitting kits for a fitness center/gym or Jenny Craig to jump in as a sponsor? You know, a not-so-subtle hint hint nudge nudge wink wink type of deal? Subliminal messaging is where it's at. I'm not sure how many middle-aged guys who've eaten too much Saltimbocca alla Romana yet still wearing those Kombat shirts in the stands of the Olimpico I can take next year. Actually, I'll ballpark it at zero.
IX) Guess who else wants Roque Santa Cruz. Just guess. Fuckin West Ham. (Now Blackburn) Didn't you people hear him? His dream is Roma. Back it up. Keep backin it up.
X) Speaking of West Ham, Raymond Domenech absolutely laid into Julien Faubert for not joining one of the top 4 clubs in England, Spain, Germany or Italy. Obviously he didn't mean Rome because he never shows up to watch Philippe Mexes play. I'm of the impression that he felt slighted and somewhat embarrassed that the guy he chose to wear the No. 10 jersey after Zizou's retirement just signed with a club that had to illegally buy two superstars to beat the drop on the last weekend of the season. Poor Ray Ray.
Anybody else notice that Spalletti is continuing to talk about Faubert? He must have really wanted him bad. Or maybe he just wanted a speedy French winger who tends to draw the ire of Raymond Domenech. Giuly? Mission accomplished.
* - I'm going to go ahead and guess Julien is crying in his pillow tonight regarding that whole West Ham move. To literaly add injury to insult, he was stretchered off in yesterday's friendly with a bad ankle injury. That sound in the background is Ray Ray laughing his ass off.
XI) I guess Julien Belletti is a fabricated rumor. The all-seeing all-knowing Ernesto Bronzetti returns with his super secret knowledge:
"Barcelona did not want to sell Sylvinho, Roma did not want to sign Belletti and Edmílson is not in the market at the moment," he explained.
Good to know. He seemed to be a superfluous purchase anyway.
* - I have to hop on a jet plane unexpectedly sometime in the next 24-48 hours so we're going to hold off on the GHD until Monday - when I should be back. I'll probably throw out a post tomorrow but until Monday you'll have to do without beautiful hair. That is if you're like me and you have the Crisco-Italian look.