Formality over, and that's precisely what it looked like: a formality. The game was as much terrible as it was painfully boring, especially towards the second half - at least for me. I've had more exciting prostate exams. And, quite frankly, it had the feel of a friendly. (Just like the prostate exams.) The first half was more or less even, as it was on the scoreboard, while Roma finally took over the second half. Catania looked like precisely what they are, an inferior team with a severe dearth of attacking punch. It seemed the more the tried to press the ball forward, the more they tried to pull the trigger from outside or send in a useless cross to one blue jersey surround by a half dozen of the white variety. It was more or less what we (I) expected, and it's on to another Coppa Italia final with Internazionale FC +1 on May 24th.
I find it really difficult to take too much from this game from a negative standpoint. The only thing worrisome was the patchwork back line, which looked shakier than a hooker in church, and will be sure to give me nightmares if Juan and Mexes are unavailable again at any point over the remaining three games. I almost threw up watching that collection. Twice.
There was some good, though:
iTunes: Kid gets more impressive with each run out. Or at least more tantalizing. I find it hard to judge a players defensive qualities against the sterility of Catania. There were a few very nice tackles, some pinpoint crosses, smooth footwork and those two Howitzers at the end, all of which is something I think everyone would love to see more of in the future. Almost surely needs a year of seasoning in the upper levels of calcio before he's ready for that LB spot, but who knows, maybe we'll all be shocked and find that a world class back is waiting in the wings sooner than we thought.
King Alberto: Great game, and awesome to see him bag a goal. Surely deserves a steep increase in playing time over the last few weeks as Spal closes out the season.
At least he better.....
Cicinho: The guy sent in a couple absolutely gorgeous crosses today. That ball to Simone was a thing of beauty. Though I'm pretty sure he had to limp off the field after taking a shot to the buttocks. That, my friend, is totally uncool and anti-macho. Front side? Take your time, sir, while we all grimace with you. Back side? Get up you Sally.
And that's about it. Good result, very good second half, and it's time to bring on the Nerazzurri.
"Highlights", if that's what you want to call them:
The big news with the takeover recently has been whether or not UniCredit would exercise its right to invoke a 2% clause, perhaps Georgy Porgy's best chance at getting the club, giving it 51% ownership in ItalPetroli and thus the chance to sell to Soros to pay off their debts. Well today, after lengthy meetings, they stated they will not use their clause, therefore Soros must deal only with the Sensi fam. Who, according to all reports and pure logic, do not want to sell - or at least not to Soros.
They'll still have to restructure the debt, but it seems like the relationship is good between the fam and UniCredit, and that they have a good amount of trust in Rosella. We shall see, but Soros as owner is looking less and less likely by the day.
Via Giacomo, a lawyer in Rome with knowledge on the inner workings: Ludovic Giuly has put in his transfer request. Basically, he wants more playing time - a fair request for someone whose career is essentially winding down. Didn't realize this, but he has played a full 90 minutes only twice since February 1, along with just six starts in 21 games. So even though his season stats don't look as though he's been riding the pine, it's still going downhill.
And let's face it, the guy hasn't been a starter since he left Monaco. His career isn't going to last forever, and this may be his best chance to become a starter again. It's really hard to blame him. Plus he must've heard all these targetman rumors and taken them personally, feeling mighty unwanted. (No, he still can't get on any amusement park rides.)
I really, really like what he brought off the bench, but is he an integral part of the squad? Not really. Could they find a serviceable replacement? Sure. In fact, though he's recently suffered an injury, Alessio Cerci is a right winger/right forward, who was so good in the first half of the year there were thoughts that he may even be recalled in midyear. Then you start talking about a guy like Joaquin who has been linked recently, and it seems this may even be a chance to upgrade. Or maybe it's time to begin the Adrian Pit Era. Forza Pit!
Looks like it may be one and done.
* - This may very well be the first RO breaking news story. Watch out, hell's getting mighty chilly.
KA To Anybody, Everybody
So apparently Alberto's dad has been in contact with Inter +1. Not only that, but he's agreed to a big big contract with them on behalf of his son. Really. You know what this reminds me of? Remember when Philou was "dining" with Berlusconi and Uncle Fester in Milan the night before the Champions League final last year, and supposedly had discussed moving there? Well they were in Athens at the very same time, which was odd. Preventing them from attending any such meeting. A meeting which was later laughed off by all (or most) parties "involved". Yet still reported.
Guess what? Bunch of horseshit. How often do we hear of things like this that are complete fabrications? If the media sees a lookalike of either he or his agent, Big Superstar Player has signed a deal with Big Club. I think it happened with Emmanuel Adebayor recently. Aquilani's pops has agreed no such deal, I'd bet my life on it.
Aquilani is a very desirable commodity and the fact that he isn't a lock for the first XI makes the journalists of the world go all batshit crazy thinking he's going to be tempted to move away. Not happening:
i. Rosella isn't going to allow a Roman born phenomenon go anywhere in Italy, so Inter and Juventus can stop salivating about, oh, now.
ii. The kid's family is loaded. It's not about the money.
iii. Do you think leaking some stuff to the press, via your agent, would be a good way of, oh I dunno, letting people know quietly of your desires? It's about the same as renting a huge ass board at the Olimpico that says "FU#$ING PLAY ME!!!".
Roughly, you know.
Of course, this has been my greatest fear with David Pizarro being Spal's cuddle buddy. You have a kid who could start for most any team on the planet on the bench often at the expense of one of the most frustrating players on the planet. In fact, this may be costing him a spot on the Azzurri when the Euros come rolling around. Maybe even a starting spot. Wouldn't that frustrate anyone else in the same position?
Rest assured, he's not going anywhere. His presence means too much to the future of the club and one day, when healthy, Spal will have no choice but to play him over DP. That day being mighty soon. It'll all be fine, and now I'm going to enroll in a seminary to make sure things go smoothly. You know, get tight with the Big Guy.
Everybody Wants Spal
The Grand Imperial Poobah was asked about the recent rumors in France that Jean-Michel Aulass wants to bring him over to the lesser side with a big, fat contract. TGIP replied:
“I am very happy at Roma,” the 49-year old told L’Equipe. “I can do a very, very good job here.
“I have everything I want here. Everybody has his place and everyone trusts everyone else.”
I don't really care about Lyon, his next move will clearly not be a step down to OL, but that's a great line to hear from someone so influential in this side. I, and many others, still believe he has room to grow, but I think to a man we hope he does so in Rome....and in the process breaks his nasty addiction to pint-sized Chilean playmakers. Tis a tough nut to crack, though.
My favorite part of the little Lyon-Spal report was this:
“A few weeks before that game, I received a Christmas message from Lyon,” he revealed.
“In the card it said: success is for those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
God, that makes the usual corn you get from Hallmark sound like riveting prose. Typical Frenchies.
Cry Baby 3.5
I took great satisfaction in this video until the very end. A good thing is never left undisturbed, is it? Bastards.