Short people scare me. I'm not really sure why - perhaps it has to do with carnival rides - but they do.
Despite my fears, I've come to something of a conclusion that they are necessary oil of evil which kept this team pumping to its scudetto hunt throughout 2007-08. How did I draw this conclusion, you ask? Well let me tell you.
During the summer of '08, after being mauled off the ball numerous times by the likes of ManU, Livorno and a local schoolgirls reserve side, Luciano Spalletti said the team had to get more physical. So what'd they do during the summer of '08? They got more physical, of course. Bigger, stronger bodies, and it's the difference in the summers of '07 & '08 which tell the story.
(First and second team transfers - omitting such flotsam and jetsam as Andreolli, Barusso, Pit, Filipe, Greco, etc - per the always infallible wikipedia.)
Mauro Esposito: 172cm
Matteo Brighi: 178cm
Avg. height: 174.3cm
As you can see, the only real person in that list is Juan. (Real person defined as living organisms over 180cm.)
Summer of '08:
Simone Loria: 186cm
Yeremy Menez: 181cm
Julio Baptista: 183cm
John Arne Riise: 185cm
And voila - all real people.
Avg. height: 185.4cm (183.75cm w/o Artur, as goalkeepers aren't quite fair).
To further confirm the theory, breakdown by similar position:
Fullback: Cicinho v Riise
Winger: Espo v Menez
Versatile attacker: Giuly v Baptista.
And what did the height increase from '07 to '08 reap?
Table position 07/08: 2nd.
Table position: 08/09: 6th.
Need I say anything else? Those bastards were magically delicious.
Therefore I don't want Alvaro Negredo or Roman Pavlyuchenko or Diego Lugano. No. I want Franco Brienza. I want Maximiliano Moralez. I want Pablo Piatti. I want Seba Giovinco. I want Javier Saviola. I want Gary Coleman, motherfucker. Throw in a smurf and the European title is Rome bound.
Bring back the goddamn Oompa Loompa Brigade.
(There is a serious theory in here somewhere, but I'm not in the mood for such nonsense as thinking.)
Could an international week friendly against a mid-table Serie B side without your biggest guns be any more underwhelming? Sure, so long as Rodrigo Taddei and Marco Cassetti are your goal scorers.
Fortunately, there are no highlights (yet).
GROSSETO (4-4-2): Caparco; Vitofrancesco, Papini, Federici, Turati; Job, Papini, Consonni, D’Alessandro; Sansovini, Carparelli.
ROMA (4-4-2) - Bertagoli; Antunes, Faty, Cassetti, Tonetto; Cerci, De Rossi, Pizarro, Guberti; Menez, Okaka.
GROSSETO (4-4-2): Lanni, Crescenzi, Abbruzzese, Freddi, Mora, Turati, Valeri, Alfageme, Vitiello, Scarlato, Toscano. All. Gustinetti
ROMA (4-4-2): Bertagnoli; Antunes, De Rossi, Cassetti, Tonetto; Taddei, Faty (16' Greco), Brighi, Guberti (16' Pit); Esposito, Menez (35' Mladen). All. Spalletti
ARBITRO: Banti di Livorno
ASSISTENTI: Niccolai e Bianchi
MARCATORI: 45' pt Cassetti, 26' st Taddei
NOTE: spettatori 7mila circa
M. Menez reportedly played exceptionally well today in the role of trequartista alongside Sir Okakachukakaka.
I suspect he wasn't willing to risk the embarrassment of a caught dive against a Serie B squad in a friendly. I'm still not sold. (I'm sold on his footballing qualities; I'm just also sold on his Nedvedian qualities.)
"We are prepared to wait for Roma for another two or three days," Camano told Il Corriere dello Sport.
"[Sporting director] Daniele Prade knows that, and he also knows that the player's wish is to play for the Giallorossi. Negredo would be honoured to play for Roma.
"But Real, in light of the offers that they have received, would now prefer to sell him. So now Roma must enter the race, and begin negotiations with Real Madrid's directors. However, they must buy him."
While I certainly respect his wishes, I also ask him to respect that Spaniards are garbage in Italia*.
Also: I can damn near guarantee Prade & Co. won't be shelling out a firm fee (rumored €15m ballpark) for Senor Negredo, given said post-immigration rubbishness. Enjoy Hull, buddy.
* - There are, however, some Spaniards deemed worthy of exception: David Villa, David Silva, Santi Cazorla, Eva Gonzalez, half of Barcelona, etc.
Odds on Christian Panucci's pride testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs within the next two years? 7/1 in year one, 4/1 in year two?
There are two names regarding this striker I think we should pay attention to for the next couple weeks plus:
I suspect signing Sheva is the only way a Ballon D'Oro is going to make its way to Rome anytime soon. [Francesco cries.]
And the potential signing I'm thinking is much more possible than is being talked about in the presses...
...and the one I'm holding out for.
Though simply imagining his injury proneness in a Roma kit is enough to make me wish for a slow and painful death via whatever disease it is his girlfriend gave him instead.
...on second thought, are those a package deal?