(Still my favorite picture of any I've used here at the offside - My Boy)
I'm In A Mood And I feel Like Starting A Debate:
Guess what? Alberto Aquilani just relegated David Pizarro to discussing the plight of the Italian at Inter on the pine with Gianluca Curci, Ludovic Giuly, Matteo Ferrari & Friends. Even the most ardent Pizarro nut-huggers will admit that, sooner or later, Little David will lose his starting XI spot to Aquilani. It's non-negotiable. Aquilani is a superduperstar in training and Pizarro has peaked. Alberto is born and bred Romanista and along with Daniele De Rossi and that Francesco Totti guy as long as he's still kicking around, he will form the heart and soul of the Giallorossi for years to come. Everybody knows this.
Well, that sooner just got here fast. Real fast. Like now. Yes, it was only one game, but combined with his performance at the U-21 tournament, his impressive Roma displays in the past (including rabonas) and his undeniably spectacular individual talent, his time has come. Despite the cries that he is better suited to Simone Perrotta's spot on the field (when he's not getting sent off on the touchline, that is), it has become quite obvious his partnership with DDR is destiny. It's just too perfect. While Inter didn't exactly have a world-beating attacking midfield on Sunday, they did still have some pretty good talent out on the pitch. Easily capable of securing a midfield - which they did not do. Alberto and Daniele were the reason they couldn't penetrate aluminum foil with Excalibur.
Aquilani was able to fulfill his defensive duties more than adequately, compose himself on the ball, keep tempo when necessary, thread passes, start up the counter and be the complete midfielder Roma needs paired with De Rossi in a system that asks for so much attacking assistance from its defensive mids and back four. How well does Roma control that midfield with David in there? Not nearly as well. Does he provide that much more from a playmaking stance? No. Would he have helped the true Achilles heel for Roma this summer, finishing? Not nearly. Will he help the squad this year? Duh. Obviously Alberto's transformation won't happen overnight, and there will be speedbumps along the way. But in big games, the games that matter, it will be Alberto getting the starts. Not David. It happened, just a lot sooner than we all thought - including myself. The future is now.
Oh, and Rosella just wasted €12m this summer (not wasted, but when she heard that price she should've sprinted in the other direction immediately). Could probably buy a pretty decent fullback - or two - with that kind of bank, no? Chew on that. Feel free to rebut and verbally stone me. (And if you hadn't noticed, Alberto is rapidly approaching DDR status for me)
Requisite mini-video (with rabona)...
Your Daily, Soon To Be Hourly, Cicinho Update:
I'm nearly beyond words. In case you missed it, the always mature Real Madrid has decided to double Cicinho's valuation over night to a mere €15m. Of course, this is per the Spanish paper AS, known for being afflicted with Algoreitis - which means they tend to just make shit up (like global warming). Even though Cici would be huge for Roma, I feel, as I mentioned yesterday before this development, that maybe it's time to just walk away. Cicinho's good, he's not this good; even if he does have the potential to be. Throw that Cici money into a star LB and buy up a young, talented RB to add to the depth chart (Marco Motta, hellooooooo). If Real wants to come back and say they're sorry and do the deal at the agreed price (€8m), fine. Or if Cici wants to force his hand, even better. But for now, just move on.
This is totally a crazy bitch "Maria" move. We may have to do alternative endings for the DVD.
I) Keeping with the theme of the day, Alberto Aquilani was on the Calcio Italia's Top 25 list of young players who play or have played in Serie A, have an Italian passport, or once vacationed somewhere in or around Italia. Courtesy of Gianfranco, the list:
Top 25 Young Players in Serie A
25. Marco Andreoli, Roma
24. Alessandro Potenza, Fiorentina
23. Arturo Lupoli, Fiortentina
22. Danile Dessena, Parma
21. Robert Acquafresca, Cagliari
20. Mourad Meghni, Lazio
19. Bosko Jankovic, Palermo
18. Antonio Nocerino, Juve
17. Dias Felipe, Udinense
16. Anthony Vanden Borre, Fiorentina
15. Cristian Zapata, Udinese
13. Marek Hamsyk, Napoli
12. Ralph Palladino, Juve
11. Domenico Criscito, Juve
10. Valon Behrani, Lazio
09. Valeri Bojinov, Fiorentina to Man City
08. Edison Cavani, Palermo
07. Alex Rosina, Torino
06. Giorgio Chiellini, Juve
05. Gourcuff, Milan * - Who has apparently felt a Brazilian kinship at Milan and switched to the one word moniker
04. Ricardo Montolivo, Fiorentina
03. Giampaolo Pazzini, Fiorentina
02. Alberto Aquilani, Roma
01. Guiseppe Rossi, Villareal
First of all, don't even get me started with Rossi at number one. Yes, he had a spectacular few months with Parma, but if he was really number one, Sir Whiskey Nose would've found a way to get him on the squad - and not spend half the GPD of Mongolia on Nani. Good, but highly overrated. I'd assume this list might be based on performance, which would have to put Rosina much higher for me, although if it's talent alone my mind goes directly to Montolivo (I'm putting my extreme Aquilani bias aside for the moment).
Needless to say, Calcio Italia isn't exactly known for their expertise. Or, having any fucking clue whatsoever. However, I do wish there were more Roma players on this list. Stefano Okaka Chuka is certainly one of the top 25 talents in Italia, same with Gianluca Curci, though neither have really earned their stripes in Serie A yet. Marco Andreolli is also certainly higher than 25th in terms of talent, but kids don't exactly have much of a chance to make their way past the 13 Argies in front of them on the Inter depth chart, so his experience is severely lacking. Anyway, it's nice to see Alberto given credit for his talent and performances (especially when filling in for Totti two years ago). You could put him at #1 and probably wouldn't hear too many arguments.
* - Oh, and Fiorentina is looking good for the future. Real good.
II) Francesco Modesto Watch:
According to various sources, the deal is off. According to more sources, Inter has decided to continue with their practice of buying up players Roma has scouted intently and/or purchased already. Well, when you have the tactical genius of Roberto Mancini at the helm, it's hard to blame Moratti for stuffing his wish list in the back of his desk and sending out his spy team (fresh off their hiatus post-Bobo Vieri duty) to collect The Grand Imperial Poobah's wishlist and/or team roster.
Whether this is legit or just an attempt at retribution for the Super victory I have not a clue. On one hand we do know Moratti likes Roma players and targets. On the other, it does look suspiciously like an attempt to drive Modesto's price up with Reggina - because Moratti knows Rosella doesn't have bank - or combat boots - to throw around. Not a clue. Nor would I be altogether upset if Modesto went to Inter and Roma picked up a different, more talented LB like an Asier Del Horno.
Either way, Moratti is a child.
III) Simone Perrotta will miss the Palermo game for saying not such nice things to the wittle weferee. Awww, big, bad Simone is such a meanie. I guess we can look forward to watching Ludovic Giuly miss beaucoup sitters once again.
* - From Fox Soccer Report, verbatim: Roma beat Inter "despite being reduced to 10 men in the 71st minute." It's getting to the point where I'd rather have FSC just be Tommy Smyth saying "bulge the ole onion bag" on loop 24/7 like he's got repetitive Tourette's. Alright, maybe not. But let's just say the only way FSC could get less journalistic credibility or more of a dip in ratings is if they hired Katie Couric to anchor the news segments.
IV) I'm beginning to wonder if Matteo Brighi has even unpacked yet. First Napoli, now Udinese. It looks like he a Manuel Blasi are tied together in both cases, with it being a "one or the other" type situation. Saturday I said I couldn't see this happening, that the team is already thin in the central midfield area. Now it looks as though Lulu Gulu is Perrotta's sub and Mirko Vucinic will be taking over on the left wing when Mancini is busy hanging out with Little David on the pine. That leaves a backup for every position and Brighi as the lone man out. Who the hell knows anymore. I'll tell you what I think is going to happen with Matteo on September 1st. Until then, enjoy what's left of the silly season.
(Spalletti has decided to keep Brighi around...today)
IV) Speaking of backups, it looks like Shabani Nonda has said "hells no" to Wigan Atletic (Smart move) and "absolutely" to Portsmouth. It's obvious Shabs isn't going to earn a starting spot in Rome unless the apocalypse arrives - again - and Totti gets injured badly (knocking on wood profusely). But wait, if Shabs and Brighi are sold, and Mirko is busy serving an apprenticeship under Mancini, then who backs up Totti? Kevan "I'm the next Luca @#$%ing Toni" Zarineh is on loan to Cisco Roma under the tutelage of Paolo Di Canio (Christ almighty....), as well as Okaka Chuka, which leaves Roma pretty thin up top. Adrian Pit (Pronounced 'Piz') backing up on the left? I need to stop before it starts to get ugly. Let's just hope one of Shabs or Matteo sticks around. It's better for the health of us all.
V) I'd like to take this moment to let all of you know a dream of mine has come true. Samuel Kuffour is likely headed to the Prem to be coached by none other than Roy "Studs Up" Keane (see Shabs' link). Sunderland just got a new fan. Or at least a rubber-necker watching the train wreck.
VI) According to Fox Soccer Channel here in the states, Philippe Megches was dubbed in their Serie A season preview the best defender in Lega Calcio. Which is pretty much the only smart thing said during the entire show. I want that 30 minutes of my life back.
Also, Samuel Kuffour and Juan will be the first defenders off the bench next season. Apparently their fact-checking department consists of Eric Wynalda and a Down Syndrome baboon. Oops, sorry about the redundancy there.