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AS Roma Finally Shows Up In Germany

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_42036440_nonda_getty.jpgMore Unfriendly Friendlies:

I think it's fair to say that the term "friendly" is somewhat misleading. A friendly is simply an exhibition match, just for practice. But it doesn't necessarily mean the two teams are going to be giving each other Spalletti-like slaps on the ass all day long - as much as each team would obviously enjoy that. Because the game between Roma and Bayer Leverkusen didn't exactly staart ut "friendly." Max Tonetto was elbowed, and Philippe Mexes, Il Capitano and Tranquillo Barnetta were all given yellows in the first half. The second half seemed more toned down, and there were no reports of injuries - which is by far the most important result of pre-season friendlies.

Anyway, certainly a much better performance than the suckitude they put out there against Borussia Dortmund. Even if it was only a 2-2 draw. Simone Perrotta got on the scoreboard quickly, after just 2 minutes. I'm going to go ahead and make a bold prediction that Perrotta will score 10+ goals this season. I don't know why, just a gut feeling. Bayer tied it up before halftime. Marco Andreolli made his unofficial Roma debut in the 67th minute, coming on for Juan. Julio Sergio reportedly botched a free kick, resulting in Leverkusen's second goal. Then Shabani Nonda came in and scored his second goal in the last 4 days to tie it up and end the game on a tie. I know it's way more than a pipe dream, but every time I think of Shabs that €20m figure which Monaco paid for his talent 5 years ago starts dancing in my head and I start thinking, "what if....." I also do the same thing with Chris Farley's movie career. So take it for what you will.

Starting XI:
Julio Sergio;
Panucci, Mexes, Juan, Tonetto,
De Rossi, Pizarro;
Esposito, Perrotta, Giuly;
Totti.

The only real surprise is that Sergio got the start over both Gianluca Curci and Carlo Zotti. I'd imagine both could use as much time as possible, unless one gets loaned out (if so, probably Zotti). The back four is more than likely the line we will see for most every game that matters this season. The starters on the wing really show how much of an improvement Roma has made this summer in bringing in qulity depth to the position. Last spring, if both Mancini and Taddei weren't playing we would've seen Christian Wilhelmsson and Francesco Tavano starting on the flanks. Ugh. Oh, and that Totti character might see some time this season. Maybe.

Here's a pretty good box score recap of the substitutions and scores . It's in Italian, but you don't have to know the language to understand names and numbers. Or maybe you do. Maybe I'm just gifted.

Mancini and Matteo Ferrari were left at home, presumably for injury reasons (I've heard Amantino has a tummy ache). I really do hope they decide to broadcast the West Ham game next weekend. I'd assume we might have a better chance of seeing it if only for the reason that the game is being played in England. I really don't exactly know why. But I just tend to think it might be easier. Yup.

Chivugate (It's Almost Over, I Swear):

I am in no way trying to start a debate here, but this is from an interview with Viktor Becali on Romanian TV yesterday, translated by our Romanian consultant, Razvan (apologies, bro - your duties just went from covering a juicy scandal involving a world class player to Adrian fuckin Pit (Pronounced 'Piz'), ouch):

“We had a verbal agreement with Mr. President [Moratti] since July 2006. He offered us a lot of guaranties since day one. Roma is a “small” club, they don't pay much in wages. We wanted a top salary and a CL team.”

i) Anybody else starting to think Chivu's demands when he was offering to sign an extension last summer/winter weren't exactly so reasonable anymore? This certainly opens up a lot of questions as to what really transpired between Chivu, his representatives and the management in regards to an extension. Maybe he gave them Moratti's price and they knew there was no way they would be able to sign him? Who knows. One of the more interesting statements I've seen in recent weeks though.

ii) On a scale of one to ten, how illegal is it that Moratti gave the Becali brothers his price for Chivu last summer? I say a 9.5. Especially while Calciopoli was still being played oout. What balls on Massimo. Squeaky clean my ass. Stay classy, Moratti.

iii) Last time I checked, Roma a) is in the Champions League group stage along with Inter next year, and b) advanced further than Inter last season in the CL. These guys make Pauley Shore look like Stephen Hawking. That takes some serious talent.

Wait wait wait.....how many Becali brothers does it take to change a lightbulb? Two. One to turn the bulb, and one to ask Moratti how to do it. (I'll be here all week)


The Weekend Update:

I) More reports saying Francesco Modesto will definitely happen next week. I'm of the same belief, but one must wonder if Dede put a halt on things. Unless they believe one of the two can play on the right. If so, I'd be more inclined to say that would be Modesto, because he seems to use his right foot quite a bit, as well as drifting centrally, and Dede seems to be strictly a left-sided player. Who knows. Considering Roma is possibly looking at two fullbacks, instead of just one for the left, it's possible to think they'd also rather take the cheaper option. But what the hell do I know. I'm famous for pushing pull doors.

II) Roma is reportedly very interested in Stefano Giacomelli, a 17 year old forward currently playing in Serie C2. Pretty much it.

III) La rosa is finally up to date on the official website. No real surprises other than Mauro Esposito listed as a forward and Samuel Kuffour's complete omission. I'm pretty sure he hasn't been training, so did they just release his contract or put him on house arrest until they find someone stupid enough to take him on?

Oh and Massimilano Marsili was listed on the roster last year, but isn't anymore. Which is code for "enjoy Serie C1 next year."

IV) I'm officially 100% in the camp of Roma's needs to get Cicinho in here at all costs. Whereas before I was more of in the "it'd be great to have him, but he's not life or death" camp. His play is nice, but any guy worthy of video set to a soundtrack of "I Need A Hero" is mandatory. Do whatever. Take out a loan, promise them the a friendly at the Colosseum, cut off a leg - I don't care. Just do it.

V) In fact, the more I think about it, the more I think Carlo Zotti will be loaned out. Spalletti said it was probably too late to loan Curci out and bring in another keeper, but 4 keepers seems a bit superfluous. And if they really get desperate, I'm also available. Provided the game is a friendly against the local Sunday school u-12 team sitting last in the table.

VI)Anybody have any idea what number Marco Andreolli went with? I'm guessing No. 71.

VII) Ricardo Faty also played, coming in as a sub in the second half. In about 3 months I'm going to forget that Roma still owns him. Damn 2 year loan deals.

VIII) If you go to google images and search for 'Shabani Nonda Roma', the third page pops up pictures of Brooke Shields from this very blog.

My life is complete.