The first pseudo-quasi-semi-official game of the season is tomorrow, and the first kinda-sorta-maybe real trophy will be handed out to someone. Probably whoever scores more goals. If you've been in a coma, swimming with the turtles off the Gallapagos Islands for the last 6 months or in a drug induced haze a la Robert Downey Jr. circa 1998, the two teams playing are Roma and Argentina. I mean Inter. Sort of.
As evidenced by the collapse that was Roma's back four last weekend against Juve, the most important part of this game is who will be able to drag their hobbled asses off the gurnies in the infirmary and make their way to the Stadio San Giuseppe Berlusconi Meazza Moratti Siro to get some pitch time. Luckily for us, a few have decided they're fit and ready to kick some nerazzurro ass. Unfortunately, none of them are defenders; which means you will be free to enjoy the Christian Panucci in Central Defense Experiment in all its glory. Here's a quick break down of where the injuries stand for tomorrow's game, as well as the beginning of the season for some:
Juan: He'll be out for another 1-3 weeks minimum with his aggravated thigh muscle. It sounds like one of those injuries that needs more rest and not so much samba, booze and women making fun of the size of your manhood. Somebody keep Adriano away from him this weekend.
Mancini: A few weeks back this was being reported as "flu-like symptoms". That was one hell of a flu in the middle of August. I'll be the first to admit I skim injury reports during the preseason. And by skim I mean look them over entirely. So it could have been more than just the flu. If not, that's a very suspicious "flu."
Regardless, he'll likely be playing tomorrow. Thankfully.
Daniele De Rossi: Starting. Hallelujah. Hallelujah. Hallelujah.
Matteo Ferrari: Out, and likely out for at least the Palermo game after an MRI ruled him out for 2+ weeks.
Simone Perrotta: Should be back tomorrow and a wonderful sight after watching Ludovic Giuly really struggle trying to adapt to all of Simone's responsibilities. If he doesn't play tomorrow (very good chance he will), it's not a big deal. He's an absolutely vital cog in the team and Roma needs him healthy for the season - not a meaningless trophy game. Plus, it will give me a chance at watching Lulu go up for aerial battles with Materazzi.
David Pizarro: Out for tomorrow and almost definitely the Palermo game and beyond. Obviously I don't want injuries on a squad desperately in need of depth, but this is Alberto Aquilani's chance to claim his rightful spot in the starting XI. I'm not unhappy about that.
He and Juan will be hanging out poolside sipping margaritas with the physio until further notice.
Marco Andreolli: Sick, probably won't play (I think). Is it me or are there an inordinate amount of people getting sick in the middle of the summer at Trigoria? Is this a polite way of saying "dysentery has spread its way through the dormitory"? Or did somebody bring back a Third World disease from their summer travels like one of my roommates from college coming back from a vacation in Central America or something? Long story short, I wound up spending the entire night vomiting in an Atlanta Marriott, then passed out in my car in a Kroger parking lot for 4 hours before I actually had to go and do athletic stuff. Fuck you, John.
Sorry, off topic. And gross.
Francesco Totti: Holy Christ. Somebody get the paddles. He misses the Super? Fine. Whatever. Anything else? Oh boy...
(He's playing, per The Grand Imperial Poobah)
Per la finale di Supercoppa italiana con l'Inter (stadio Meazza ore 20.45) mister Spalletti convoca 22 calciatori: Alvarez, Mancini, Andreolli, Aquilani, Barusso, Bertagnoli, Brighi, Cassetti, Curci, De Rossi, Esposito, Giuly, Doni, Mexes, Nonda, Panucci, Perrotta, Rosi, Taddei, Tonetto, Totti, Vucinic.
Your Daily Cicinho Update:
Roma has deployed their "ace", Ernesto Bronettizballs, today to take care of this Cicinho matter once and for all. In a shock turn in this whole saga, the majority of the media seems to agree on the figures being thrown around here. It is reported that Real Madrid has dropped their demands to €9m, while Rosella is standing hard at €7m. Which means hopefully the two can meet around €8m.
As far as the Cicinho-Sevilla-Roma love triangle goes, Cici cleared it up a little for us yesterday. He basically said Roma is numero uno, but that Sevilla is still a very good squad and can't rule them out - which is true. Now, this is the second time Sevilla has stuck their nose in Roma's business and tried to poach a defender (remember Juan?), but they failed miserably the first time. If I recall correctly, Sevilla wasn't even in the ballpark with Roma's wage offer to Juan, so let's hope we get a repeat performance here and they can't match the €2.2m per annum Rosella has supposedly offered to Cici.
If you want to be optimistic, the deal could get done today according to some media outlets. If you want to be realistic, you can take a nap until August 31st and wait for it to be decided then.
* - Cicinho is not in the squad for tomorrow's Supercopa game against Sevilla. Dani Alves is. Feel free to make what you want out of that.
The Weekend Update:
I) So Philippe Mexes has been recalled by Raymond Domenech to the French National Team for meaningful games, albeit 18 months too late. I'm happy for Philippe and all, but this comes at a time when Roma is in desperate need of some health and/or rest for their central defense, with Philou being the only healthy and capable one at the moment (put your hand down Mr. Kuffour). They have two games in two days, so I would tend to think Mexes might actually get to play - even with that NFL-sized roster Domenech has called up.
The problem is I don't know if I'll be more pissed if Philou plays or doesn't play. If he does play, he deserves it and it has been a long time coming. But Roma opens up the season in less than a week against a more than formidable side, one boasting an attack of Amauri, Fabrizio Miccoli and Edison Cavani. That's an assload of firepower there, and without Juan and likely Ferrari, that could get real ugly real quick (people are writing off Palermo, but they're going score tons of goals next year - even if every single person in Sicily gets a chance to coach them at some point during the season).
If he doesn't play, it will be good for Philou to get some needed rest and a likely prevention of injury (if this was Chivu we'd all be holding our breath). But then it'd be clear Ray Ray is just fucking with Philippe, Roma and pretty much all of Serie A.
* - On a directly related note, I'll start to fear Les Bleus, aka Nasri +10, when Domenech is fired and/or dies from a venereal disease passed on from his wife with the big schnozaroo. Until then? Not so much.
II) Keeping with the theme of Roma players who had been snubbed for international call-ups in the past, Ahmed Barusso will also make his return to the Ghanian National Team at Wembley against Senegal on Tuesday. No clue if he'll play, central midfield seems to be one of Ghana's strong points - but then again it is a friendly. Even so, a central midfield with Barusso and Michael Essien is mouth-watering, isn't it?
III) Romanews.eu has been running a poll to see who people thinks has been the best purchase of the summer thus far. The clear winner is Lulu Gulu at 36%, with Juan taking the silver at 22%. Third place? A tie between Barusso and Kevin fricken' Zarineh, with DOUBLE Mauro Esposito's total.
Pocket Rocket: 36%
Am I just completely missing something here? Does this kid's proclamation that he's the second coming of Luca @#$%in' Toni really have everyone drinking the Kool-Aid? Espo? Of 16 Serie A goals two years ago and for the price it costs to buy a beverage from the vending machines at the Bernabeu, is really half the acquisition of some kid who won't see Serie A for at least a year, likely 2-3? Not to mention the same as a guy who's never seen time above the Swiss Mentally Challenged League? I'm flabbergasted. I'm befuddled.
* - If Cicinho comes you can be assured he'll make Giuly about as popular as Mido.
IV) Game is on RAI International tomorrow, therefore it will be streamed via StreamerOne, aka internet television set smeared with Vaseline. I'll have the appropriate links up tomorrow in my Super Supercoppa preview.
V) In case you missed it up top, Samuel Kuffour was left out of tomorrow's squad, even though they have Mexes and a couple invisible men on the CB depth chart right now. Which probably makes this Sunderland rumor all the more probable and likely to happen. I would love this to happen for two reasons. One, get Kuffour the hell outta Dodge. Two, watching a guy characterized by his coach as "lazy" go play for Roy Keane - the guy who goes in for hard tackles on old women at the grocery store trying to take the last box of Earl Grey. Make it happen (soon).
VI) More Prem rumors. This time, Shabani Nonda has been drawing interest from Wigan Athletic. How serious? Not a clue. While it might be good for Nonda to get some playing time, leaving the Champions League for eventual relegation just doesn't sound all that appealing (yes, Wigan will be relegated - in fact, remind me to bet on that). With the recent line forming outside the doctor's office at Trigoria (especially that Totti guy), I'd think TGIP would want to keep as much depth as humanly possible.
But if they need an extra couple mills to hand over to Real for Cici? Nice knowing ya, Shabs.
VII) Congrats to Alberto Aquilani and Gianluca Curci getting Azzurri (not the U-21, The Big Boys) call ups for the friendly this week. I'm happy for both the two, but unless Spalletti asked The Don Doni not to pick his boys coming off injury, then where the fuck is Daniele De Rossi and why the fuck is Angelo Palombo on the squad. I need to read into this more, but I'm about to go apeshit if TDD has simply decided not to call up the best midfielder in Serie A in a squad to get ready for France (yeah, I said it).
Expect a blow up tomorrow.
Edit: I'm not pissed about him not playing, as he is coming off an injury. I am pissed about him not getting to work with the team in anticipation of the France matchup (this is said to be a warm up match for the Frenchy boys). Fitness or not, if he's not called that's complete BS. No, I'm not a fan at all.