I wouldn't call this definitive by any means, but this is enough to lose your appetite over for the next 36 hours:
Francesco Totti is almost certainly out of AS Roma's meeting with Manchester United FC on Tuesday after suffering a thigh injury in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Cagliari Calcio.
The Roma captain played the whole 90 minutes at Cagliari, cancelling out Matteo Ferrari's own goal with a sumptuous free-kick on the stroke of half-time, yet later complained of a problem in his left thigh. After initial examinations club doctors have prescribed "a few days of rest", meaning he would miss the first leg of the UEFA Champions League quarter-final against United at the Stadio Olimpico on Tuesday.
Everybody saw him clutching his hamstring the entire game yesterday, and this is the result. However, if there is even a sliver of a chance that he can play, you know he'll put on the boots, accept the ball and make everybody else on the team look like world beaters. Until tomorrow, it's time for the candlelit vigils.
Of course, I've got to wonder if this is all a rebuttal after ManPoo declared that Michael Carrick, Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra and Ryan Giggs are all injury concerns going into the game on Tuesday. Because you know they're all either going to be playing or on the bench. Quite frankly, none of those three changes Roma's game plan. It might change individual coverage, but anything short of announcing Cristiano Ronaldo has a wicked case of crabs and he won't be able to stop itching until Wednesday morn at the earliest won't change Spalletti's mind a whole bunch.
Totti? Saying Francesco Totti is out blows Fergire's game plan out of the water. But guess what: they'll be planning for Totti. Much of this smells like big game posturing.
But in the event that Totti can't go, it's all on you, buddy:
Also, if anyone has a splendidly tanned, supremely gifted, world class chunk of thigh they'd like to donate to Francesco before Tuesday, that'd be peaches. Thanks in advance.
News & Notes
I) They've done gone and taken precautionary measures by banning the sale of alcohol at the game on Tuesday. Most people are assuming they're trying to limit the number of fan related incidents, I think they're trying to limit the number of Brits that actually show up.
II) Ref for the game has been announced: Frank De Bleeckere of Belgium. Apparently he was the guy who sent off Materazzi at Anfield not so long ago. Wikipedia has a decent little breakdown of monumental games in his career. Unfortunately, no word of any address he can be hunted down at if he breaks down and suffers from Old Trafforditis, where one inexplicably throws on a red jersey to call the game.
III) The Grand Imperial Poobah and Doc Brozzi will make a decision tomorrow regarding the status of Juan, but it does not look good. Chances are he will miss the game and Christian Panucci will have to go rent a Vespa for the day. Because if Matteo Ferrari is allowed near the field they suffer the risk of riots.
Also, Juan is starting to remind a little bit of that Chivu feller in the health department. Yikes.
IV) Juan Manuel Vargas, a likely candidate for the LB spot next season, had a couple of cannon shots just miss this morning against Torino. I'll still take him, just as long as Gionatha Spinesi stays in Sicily. Roma's goal celebrations are homoerotic enough, the last addition they need is a couple of dudes making out.
V) This is a name which we heard a lot just last summer, but the rumors have really died down since. Johan Elmander, eternally linked to Barcelona, will surely be going up for sale this summer because Toulouse is about to go down. They sit 19th in Ligue 1 and are four points from safety with five games to go. Ain't happenin', most likely. Johan is a guy who could slot in behind or in front of Francesco, and he's got that height we've all been yearning for since the first Oompa Loompa Brigade sighting.
Also, ditto for Jeremy Mathieu. Could be time to tap up a L1 fire sale, as there is usually a decent dropoff in price when teams go down.
Little Elmander action:
VI) Still four points.