Due to the closeness of the GHD Final Leg 1, we're going to keep it running through the weekend to try and determine a clear-cut winner. There have been a lot of lead changes so hopefully this will be sort out, and Leg 2 will begin on Monday. So, if you haven't done so yet, go vote here for the first leg:
Totti v Mexes
Start Lining Them Up:
Due to whatever is going on between the Roma, Reggina and Francesco Modesto camps right now, it looks like Rosella, Prade and The Grand Imperial Poobah have set their sights upon greener pastures. The newest name being linked to Roma is Valencia's unwanted Spaniard, Asier Del Horno. Despite his talent and likely thrift store pricing, I've got some significant reservations on this one. He's coming off a bad injury and only played in 5 games last season, and in those 5 games whoever the hell is running the transactions in Valencia these days decided he wasn't worth it, and wasted no time in planting a 'For Sale' sign on his ass. This is also the second year in a row in which this has happened. After he was bought from Chelsea, about a month later he was officially handed the title "Holder of Cristian Chivu's Cashley Cole's spot on the roster while illegal negotiations are wrapped up with Massimo Moratti Roman Abramovich."
Now, it's clear the kid's got beaucoup talent. He's fast, he's strong, he's good on the tackle, as well as the air, and he has a quality attacking mindset on the flanks. Basically, he's a gifted all-around left back. Based on talent alone I'd love to see him pull on a Kappa kit. But he never really struck me as being a great decision maker or someone who has put it all together, and Jose Mourinho publicly agreed with these sentiments, in a rare break from his reserved and unopinionated self. Not to mention that injury last year. Considering this summer's acquisition have been signed straight off the operating table (Barusso, Modesto), I'm not sure this is such a wise purchase. Cicinho is one thing. I think everybody knows how unbelievably gifted he is and how well he would suit the team flying down the flanks.
I'm torn on Del Horno, due to the injury and the fact that he has been known for making boneheaded decisions at times (that red against Barca for Chelsea comes to mind). The one piece that allows me to give this the thumbs up is Spalletti. if anybody can take him and turn him back into that marauding left back and one of Europe's more coveted players, it's The Grand Imperial Poobah.
As far as finances go, the price is being reported at €6m, which is a significant drop considering Chelsea paid between €10-12m for him two years ago, and Valencia paid €8m last year (for anyone keeping score, that valuationg is going in the wrong direction for a 26 year old). However, I doubt Rosella will jump at that price. Considering there were rumors a couple months ago that Valencia was prepared to sell or loan, I would not be surprised to see a Francesco Tavano like loan situation happen here. Meaning one year deal with an option to buy. And honestly, it would probably be best for both parties involved. Del Horno's out, that much we know. But from a Valencia business standpoint, they're selling him low. Their best hope might be to loan him out for one year, put in a reasonable buy out option which would seee them lose little if any bank on their original investment, and pray that he dials back the clock to those Aletico Bilbao days. Roma...well, Roma I really don't have to tell you about. They'll do anything to save a euro.
And this is a relatively new rumor, so I don't know how feasible it is, but it seems to make sense for a lot of people. Not that Rosella typically factors that in or anything.
Your Daily, If Not Hourly, Cicinho Update:
"He's close." What does that mean? Like parties have agreed to compensation? Ole Bronzy balls has sufficiently liquored up Mijatovic in Russia and convinced him to sell Cicinho and half a cocker spaniel to Roma? At this point anything that isn't concretely backed up by multiple parties is going to have to be considered speculative. Maybe not baseless, but there have more flip-flops here than in a US Presidential debate (that's alot).
I) Bruno Conti is not a fan of signing 9 year olds.
Thanks for clearing that up. I know I'll be able to finally sleep through the night.
II) Sven-Goran Eriksson has decided that because he didn't land a job in the boot, that he wants to bring the boot to England. This time going after Francesco Modesto, who was widely assumed to be a Roma player at one point. Now? Not so much. I think it has become clear that either a) The Grand Imperial Poobah has different idea or b) Reggina start bumping up his pricetag once they saw all those Prem pound signs floating in from Manchester. At this point it's probably a little bit of both.
III) Just a reminder, Roma's next friendly is at Upton Park tomorrow against West Ham. No clue if it'll be streamed, but if I found out it is, I'll post it in the comment thread and in the post tomorrow.
I) In honor of summer, your gratuitous cheesily awesome 1980's soundtrack to the flapdoodle. One of my 3 favorite bands of all time. You know you're going to be singing this all day long. You're welcome.
II) If any of you read CNN, BBC, HSN or any other major media outlet over the past two days, I'm sure you saw this and said to yourselves, "That's got Chris written all over it." And you're 100% correct. As you know, I have a deep love for Gorby Chops and all things Ex-CCCP, and though I have a great distaste for Louis Vuitton, I would blindly buy anything he's selling. Well, maybe except for that whole democracy thing (I kid I kid). Nevertheless, I think this should be a recurring trend. Old, out of date political leaders, both dead and alive, should be sought out to advertise major product lines and services. I've even come up with my own list.:
Sadam Hussein: J.Crew Braided Rope Belts
Vladimir Putin: Prudential Life Insurance (with Biohazard/Radioactive chemical exposure extended coverage)
Julius Caesar: Kappa & Wind Telecom (duh)
Adolf Hitler: Levi's Jeans
Hugo Chavez: CNN
III) The Gift Corner
In honor of Gorby Chops, my new favorite T-Shirt. And no, I do not frequent that website. (Nor would I necessarily trust sending them your $16.99, but that tee is as mint as it gets)
IV) If you haven't done so yet, go sign up for the Offside Fantasy League, because it should be pretty fun until your team starts to resemble Juve's preseason. It's Premiership based, but the majority of Serie A fans follow the Prem and La Liga to some degree also, and it's free with prizes, so what's to lose? It would be unfair to pimp it if I didn't give you my week 1 squad, obviously subject to change once that whole 'sucking like Juve' thing comes into play. Unfortunately it's a mandatory 4-4-2, which means The Grand Imperial Poobah has graciously declined the invitation, and a max of 2 players per team. So here goes:
gk: Andreas Isaksson Man City (£5.5m)
df: Matthew Taylor Portsmouth (£9m)
df: Ricaro Carvalho CSKA London (£10.5m)
df: Nicky Shorey - Reading (£6.8m)
df: Leighton Baines - Wigan (£5.7m)
mf: Steven Gerrard - Liverpool (£13m)
mf: Javier Mascherano - Liverpool (£6.6m)
mf: Morten Gamst Pedersen - Blackburn (£10m)
mf: Cesc Fabregas - Arsenal (£12.5m)
fw: Emmanuel Adebayor - Arsenal (£10m)
fw: Kevin Doyle - Reading (£9.5m)
I've got £0.6m left over so I think that'll be enough to pick up Bolton's #10. Anyhow, I'm pretty confident with the squad. Not so much the back line, but from the midfield up. And I don't want to let on too much, but I'm calling Kevin Doyle right now as the big "sleeper" for this year. The kid just continually impresses me every time I watch Reading play.
This has also given me another idea. Yahoo! runs a Serie A fantasy league, which hasn't begun running yet, but once it does I'm thinking about setting up a league for the Roma offside, and any one else at the offside for that matter. Where everybody will be free to join and pick up most of Roma's roster (mandatory). So if you like the idea let me know and I'll get on it once it starts running. I'd assume within 10-14 days or so.
V) I want whatever Bobby Brown has been smoking. Wait, check that. Maybe not.
R&B star Bobby Brown is still convinced Osama Bin Laden wants him dead so he can marry Whitney Houston - 11 months after the singers officially separated. Brown's 14-year marriage to Houston came to an end when their divorce was finalised earlier this year, but the hitmaker remains adamant he is on the al Qaeda leader's hitlist. He even hired extra security to guard him on his recent tour of Australia. He tells the New York Daily News, "I figure if Bin Laden wants me, and everybody is looking for him, it probably won't happen. But if he wants to try and find me for something so stupid, he can do what he wants. I have to leave it in the hands of my higher power. Come on, if anybody (else was) threatened by Al Qaeda, they'd take it seriously."
I don't know about the rest of you, but I will now be looking over my shoulder 24/7 in anticipation of a personal attack by Bin Laden so he can take my sweet Oral B toothbrush and half eaten pack of Swedish Fish currently hibernating under my bed. Both of which are infinitely more appealing than Whitney Houston. I also think the following people should be worried: George Bush, Massimo Moratti, Santa Claus, Ghandi, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, The Wiggles, Chip 'N Dale's Rescue Rangers and the Tooth Fairy.
VI) Roma swimming in the pool at Trigoria, basically. Check out the 2:25 mark or so where they have a swimming race. When you get to Christian Panucci's age, sometimes you just have to pull all the aces out of your sleeve. Some people may say 'cheater,' but I say 'wily veteran.'
VII) Zlatan's Corner
Quote of the Week
Due to the well running dry with Zlatan quotes, we're going to add quotes which have been said about him. At least until the season starts and he's filled the journalistic logs with vignettes galore.
Thomas Bodström, Swedish Minister for Justice and former AIK player (2001)
Zlatan is ready for Ajax, the question is whether Ajax is ready for Zlatan.
As far as I'm concerned, that's a) true and b) pretty much one of the highest compliments you can give somebody. And no, Ajax was not ready for Zlatan. Nobody is.
A very cool photog of our man Zlatan. For some reason these arts have always fascinated me. Probably because they're very time consuming and I have the attention span of Claudio Ranieri after a night on the town with Bobo Vieri and Adrian Mutu.
Speaking of Ajax, when Zlatan left some people took it hard. Very hard. And seeing his games and training, who can blame them?
VIII) Your Former Soviet Bloc supermodel who may or may not do well to eat a sandwich. Unintentionally, this column has a slight Russian tinge, doesn't it?
* - As an aside, we need a vote on this one. Ugly? Yay? Nay?
I vote yay.
IX) If you have the time, sit down and watch this interview with Kevin Garnett. In the world of mercenaries and soulless athletes, it's refreshing to see something so pure, so deep. I've always been a big Garnett fan, but this takes me over the top for him. If only all athletes were like him. One quote always comes to mind when this interview comes up:
"Show me a good and gracious loser and I'll show you a failure." - Knute Rockne, US Football Coach
* - For the guys who know who the Rock is, did anyone actually know he is Norwegian, actually born in Voss? Which coincidentally happens to be one of my favorite bottled waters. I'm actually surprised.
X) Roma likes high-fives. That's nice and all, but I'm still waiting on the Spalletti ass-slap compilation.
XI) Commercial of the week: Totti and the boys go medieval. I feel like there's a joke somewhere in here about Ronaldinho playing amongst a bunch of livestock, but I'll hold myself back.