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Schedule Released & Totti Speaks (Listen Up, Damnit)

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scudetto.gifThe Shedjool:

As we know, the first game of the season will be the Super Coppa against Inter at the San Siro on August 19th, which will be much more than just a trophy game. It's the first time Chivu will likely play against the team formerly so near and dear to his heart, and also the first time he collects that big Inter paycheck which stole said heart away from Rome. Onto the seedings. Lega Calcio runs a system where the top teams are seeded so that they don't have to face each other for the first three weeks of the season, a nice bonus for the teams that performed the best in Serie A the season before. Or for the team that was shamefully relegated to Serie B in a devastating refereeing scandal and then won promotion the next season. So if you missed that, Juventus was one of the lucky few, along with Roma, Milan, Lazio and Inter. Basically the 4 Champions League teams and the team that has caused the greatest disgrace to Lega Calcio. That's their system. Stay classy, Lega Calcio.

As for the schedule, it's buuuuuullllllllllsssshhhhhhhiiiiiiiiiiiiittttttttt. The Week 4-10 schedule is as brutal as it gets. The games aren't spread out (Milan & Lazio in 3 days? Lovely) and they're against mostly the top teams in Serie A. But I'm not going to harp on the bad - there are a few silver linings:

i) If Roma can withstand that 7 week onslaught and remain in contention, they will have a fluffy schedule to say the least. Especially into the spring, when they could end out the season with Empoli, Cagliari, Genoa, Udinese, Livorno, Torino, 'Doria, Atalanta and Catania as their path to potential glory. Could be worse.

ii) The first two teams in that 6 week gauntlet - Juventus and Fiorentina - could probably be considered the two teams who underwent the greatest turnover this offseason. Which may mean they have not have formed an on the pitch chemistry yet and will still be struggling to find their legs as a collective unit when Roma rolls around. Not to mention Juventus having zero top-quality opposition to speak of in the last year.

iii) Napoli and Parma should provide a relative breather before Roma makes their second trip to the San Siro. They aren't easy games, but will very welcome after Juve, Fiorentina and Inter.

iv) What doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

(Team to the left is home; and. = First trip through the schedule in fall/winter; rit. = return trip in winter/spring)

I giornata (and. 26/8/2007; rit. 27/1/2008)
Palermo-Roma

II giornata (and. 2/9/2007; rit. 3/2/2008)
Roma-Siena

III giornata (and. 16/9/2007; rit. 10/2/2008)
Reggina-Roma

IV giornata (and. 23/9/2007; rit. 17/2/2008)
Roma-Juventus

V giornata (and. 26/9/2007; rit. 24/2/2008)
Fiorentina-Roma

VI giornata (and. 30/9/2007; rit. 27/2/2008)
Roma-Inter

VII giornata (and. 7/10/2007; rit. 2/3/2008)
Parma-Roma

VIII giornata (and. 21/10/2007; rit. 9/3/2008)
Roma-Napoli

IX giornata (and. 28/10/2007; rit. 16/3/2008)
Milan-Roma

X giornata (and. 31/10/2007; rit. 19/3/2008)
Roma-Lazio
* - Having the derby on a Wednesday sucks, quite simply.

XI giornata (and. 4/11/2007; rit. 22/3/2008)
Empoli-Roma

XII giornata (and. 11/11/2007; rit. 30/3/2008)
Roma-Cagliari

XIII giornata (and. 25/11/2007; rit. 6/4/2008)
Genoa-Roma

XIV giornata (and. 2/12/2007; rit. 13/4/2008)
Roma-Udinese

XV giornata (and. 9/12/2007; rit. 20/4/2008)
Livorno-Roma

XVI giornata (and. 16/12/2007; rit. 27/4/2008)
Torino-Roma

XVII giornata (and. 23/12/2007; rit. 4/5/2008)
Roma-Sampdoria

XVIII giornata (and. 13/1/2008; rit. 11/5/2008)
Atalanta-Roma

XIX giornata (and. 20/1/2008; rit. 18/5/2008)
Roma-Catania

Il Capitano:

Francesco had a nice big interview yesterday in which he touched on a lot of things pertaining to all things Totti. There were a couple points which I found interesting:

i) He was asked what role he wants to take up with the club when his playing days are over. The question asked if he'd be a youth coach or director, and he said that would be possible but he was leaning more in the direction of technical director, and that he's gunning for Bruno Conti's job. I'd been wondering this for awhile, and it seems like it would be a pretty good fit for him. I'm not sure he's ideal as the youth coach. I wonder if that honor will go to Daniele De Rossi - it does run in the family.

ii) Totti gave his Dream XI, were Roma to come into Roman Abramovich money, he went with a 4-2-3-1 formation and these guys:

Gigi Buffon; Cicinho*, Mexes, Nesta, Roberto Carlos; De Rossi, Lampard; Ronaldinho, Totti, Messi; Ronaldo (The real one).

Funny that he put himself as the trequartista on that squad. And I love that team provided he meant Roberto Carlos circa 2002 and Frank Lampard circa never.

* - Francesco, you sly dog you.

Good interview, the rest of it is here.

The Fluffernutter:

I)Cicinho has come out and said he wants to stay in Madrid at all costs and would play between the sticks if Schuster asked him. And that if he was moved to Rome, his wife has informed him that she would stay in Madrid while he moves on. Which means: Cicinho to Rome is improbable. Although maybe Mrs. Cici should call up Mrs. Oddo's ovaries and see how they're doing up in Milan. Maybe "chilled"? I'll stop.

If he really is hell bent on moving to Rome, he is putting up an Oscar-worthy performance. And not like Jack Nicholson in As Good As It Gets good. I'm talking Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man good.

* - Then there's the report that Cici and his agent have both been taking Italian lessons. Which the agent confirmed, but said it was in order to become more "culturally advanced." Uh huh. This is all more confusing than Francesco Coco's sexuality. I don't know what to think anymore.

II) Reaching back into the transfer rumor rejuvenation machine: Remember the bid tabled by Roma for Juan Manuel Vargas? Whatever happened to him? Because he's extremely versatile and is also considered to be an exceptional winger. It does look like Francesco Modesto is on the way eventually, but I wonder where this guy went. He'd be huge considering the talent plus versatility combo. Plus, he's had offers from Juventus and Liverpool as well, so he's not exactly a schmuck (we'd assume, at least). Maybe he's one of those guys that the media just hasn't gotten much wind of lately (you know there are plenty of those). Just throwing a name out there, might see it come up again.

Also, probably one of the worst lines in the storied history of wikipedia:

In 2005 Boca Juniors became so impressed with the player that they bought 10% of his contract.

10% eh? Which is code for, "we can date, but I don't want any of my friends to find out that we actually know each other. Cool? Oh, and by the way, have you had any STD tests recently? I'm gonna need to see those papers. Thanks."

III) Tell me if you see anything wrong with this list. The list is legit.

I don't know whether to laugh, cry or vomit. I think I may run nude through a car wash to cleanse myself.

IV) Matteo Ferrari's extension talks aren't going as smoothly as Mancini's. It's being reported that Roma is offering up €1.7m post-taxes, while Matteo wants much more. I actually touched on this in one of my first columns here, where I surmised that Matteo would be the first defender to leave. I've also said that Ben Affleck is the new Cary Grant. As you can see, my prognostication skills aren't exactly top-flight. Anyhow, I said that it looks like Matteo wants to be paid like a starter without actually being one - which looks like the case right now. You don't see me asking for Bill Simmons' salary, do ya? No. It's all about team here.

V) If things don't work out with an extension, Fiorentina have reportedly already made an offer for Matteo. Honestly, if he doesn't sign in two weeks, I have no idea what they'll do. I'm of the belief that he's a few Spalletti ass slaps away from dropping his demands anyway. Money can't buy everything.

VI) Still waiting for the official signing of Mancini's extension, but nearly every reputable site is reporting it has been agreed to in "principle." I don't expect it to be long before it's penned.

VII) In the event that they can't land Francesco Modesto, who isn't looking like such a sure thing anymore, Roma has reportedly been keep tabs on Florian Marange, 21 year old left back from Bordeaux. I'll admit, I know absolutely nothing about this kid, but I trust the Ligue 1 scouting from Roma. No idea how probable anything concrete is, but at least it's another option to throw up on the board. I'm still waiting for Taye Taiwo to pop up again though.

VIII) Samuel Kuffour has arrived at Trigoria. Somebody hide the women and children. It's about to get real ugly in here.

IX) Seaking of Modesto, Daniele Prade and Reggina's prez will supposedly be meeting within the next few days to discuss his move to Rome. Where have we heard that one before?

X) More Matteo Brighi news from his agent:

“Nothing has changed in the past few days, Brighi is doing well with Roma in their pre-season training and Spalletti still considers him a key player, who cannot be sold.”

Uh huh.

XI) Sevillla's Ivica Dragutinovic has said that he turned down overtures from Roma to join them. Which iis pretty funny, because after I saw he wanted out of Sevilla the other day and thought he could be a possible stop gap in the back, even if he isn't a spring chicken anymore. Oh well. I'm not crying.

This is good news though, for one reason: Apart from Dede and Modesto, nobody else is really talked about from the media. Well, there are a ton of guys I'm sure Roma has contacted that the media never received word on. Ivica's just one of many. There's still hope.

XII) Another name for the future: Dinelson. Currently a LW at Corinthians, Roma are looking at him as another Mancini. Meaning, buy him up now on short money then immediately loan him out. Works for me. He also looks to be tiny in the Ludovic Giuly mold. Is it me or is Spalletti trying to build a team of Oompa-Loompas on the flanks?