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ROME, ITALY - FEBRUARY 05:  A general view of Stadio Olimpico after snow fall before the Serie A match between AS Roma and FC Internazionale Milano at Stadio Olimpico on February 5, 2012 in Rome, Italy.  (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)
ROME, ITALY - FEBRUARY 05: A general view of Stadio Olimpico after snow fall before the Serie A match between AS Roma and FC Internazionale Milano at Stadio Olimpico on February 5, 2012 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)
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Update: And the winners are....C, F* & I. A round of applause to everyone who participated, and this is hardly the end, as I'd quite like to work in something else with more of a communal feel. It's a very bathrobe-belt-is-optional feeling around here anyway. I like it. For now, however, FanPosts are much the same.

* - Despite a substantial penalty for going well over the quota.


If you can't figure out how this works, logic says you shouldn't be voting anyway. Hugs and unicorns all around.

As I'm still stumbling my way around the system behind the curtains, formatting isn't uniform (clearly) and I've learned that SB Nation absolutely despises Helvetica at certain sizes*. The design world weeps solemn.

* - Actually, that's not true - it's fairly straightforward in the HTML, which simply looks like someone had a forty-minute seizure on their keyboard. Ergo...

The word count was purposefully kept low - some went over and some actually used an abacus, which is just awesome - because I wanted to keep the responsibilities of the voting masses as minimal as humanly possible. Now, I'm doing it this way mostly because I love to defer responsibility, but as a happy accident, it's only fair for the people to choose their leader, so please don't just vote for A because that's all you go through on the subway to work before the homeless man next to you began urinating on his imaginary Minotaur. Or because 353 words is conveniently your reading quota for the day. Serious votes, please. And this is not a popularity contest, so don't cheat just because you share a bathroom with 18 other dudes on the hall. Or cell block. Whichever. This is not trivial.

Because, if only, they're genuinely worth reading. Well done, people of all humanly possible demographics. But do please forgive those guilty their dreams of derby glory yore reacquainted. Di'n't happen.

After reading, you may vote for up to three at the bottom (select three the first time you vote - it won't allow you to go back and choose another). And do not announce which one is yours, please, should you be the author.

The poll closes 45 minutes pregame on Saturday.


Don't we all just love those rules?

Let’s talk about rules. Coaches seem to love them. So does LE, and so does the boss of all bosses Prandelli.

The former ousted DDR out of the team for being a few minutes late, while the latter gave his backing. As a consequence, we got raped in Bergamo, received two red cards, while being agile and organized as a bunch of intoxicated chimpanzees trying to figure out where the ball came from when there are no trees on the field.

And all that over a few minutes… I just can’t stop repeating a few minutes…

I wonder if these respectable, law-abiding gentlemen would be so fanatically keen on the rules if they would receive a yellow card each time they leave the box during the game. "The rules are the rules" says Domato with a big grin on his face.

I also wonder if the rules would really be the rules if DDR was by any chance a few minutes late a few weeks back, when his contract was still being moved from Manchester to Madrid.

Now, I hear some of you saying that all the players are the same, that they should be treated equally, and that the team is above the individual. While you’re at it, try also claiming that they should all earn the same and that Taddei isn’t the sexiest beast among them. Sorry, what was that?!

And if you think that my task here is to remedy the hypocrisies of the world, think again. This is just putting things in perspective. You may say what you want, but so can I and I say that a few minutes cost us the game (or at least pride) against Atalanta. And as the great philosopher Bill Hicks once put it philosophically: case fucking closed!


What if....?

Fransesco Totti was never born, and therefore Daniele De Rossi would drink grappa every sunday night at beach of Ostia and kick rocks while watching a mediocre Roma team with no leadership on the field.

This would take place:

Taddei - Kjaer - Juan - Jose Angels
Pjanic - Gago - Marquinho
Borini - Osvaldo - Lamela

Or just Danielino would be late from team meeting and Totti kick his big toe to LE´s tight ass. No Romans, and just bunch of young talent with nothing to lean on but old Juan and beast of Brazil, Taddei. Sabatini, better to light up few cigs and get us some fucking world-class talent.

There is some kind of Derby going to be hosted, so remember do not fuck with goats.

If you are a Romanista.


It could be a worse day than when one of Europe’s brightest young
talents professes his unyielding love for all things Roma. Even better,
his idol is the same as ours. No surprises then that his greatest
attributes are his laser-like passing and quick football brain.

The boy is Cristian Eriksen. When he’s not lighting up the Dutch league
at Ajax, the breeding ground of future football legends (or douches like
Suarez), or fending off admiring glances from culturally amputated oil
barons and wily old Scots tempting him with fat cheques as they continue
sucking the life out of football as we know it (*deep breath*), he’s
keeping tabs on Roma. Should he reject the overtures of the vampires in
the east with a big FO and opt for the relatively "humble" arena of
Rome, he will immediately cement himself as a fan favourite in my book.
For he will have rejected all that is wrong with football today – money,
greed, soullessness, for all that is right – Roma.

This story is bigger than Cristian Eriksen. It means that in the
money-infested darkness that the game of football has become – from
megalomaniacs landing helicopters on other team’s training grounds, to
the world’s best players playing in obscure locations to collect a
cheque (with respect to Makhachkala), some light prevails. Roma is that
light and it shines so brightly that a boy who grew up in Denmark and
plies his trade in Holland can see it and embrace it.

One would be forgiven for thinking that stars are aligning for the
birth of a fairytale. An adopted Roman in the making, who idolizes a
Roman legend, humbly enters Trigoria to be schooled by the master
himself. Perhaps this could be Francesco’s way of ensuring his legend
will prevail on the pitch, long after he hangs up his boots. Apt it is,
then, that he shares the name of Franceso’s biological son. We all
thought it would be Cristian that would continue the legacy. We may have
all been right, just a little sooner than we had anticipated.


The piece(s).

"it will go up as it is", the godmother of writing Roma blogs told us. That somehow seems fitting, as that’s sort of what we’re looking at if we’re talking about Sunday. Roma wouldn’t Roma, and wouldn’t be the team all you nutcases reading this root for, if we’d come prepared for a derby. Heck no! And why would we, right?

The good part is that at least 2 of the goal scorers in the last 6 derbies are either on the pitch or on the bench, indeed: "2" and that includes Simplicio. I rest my case.

The bad part? We’re missing Ga(r)go(yle), my main man Marco Drawers (ok, translating "cassetti" is a bad pun) and that last Roma player to even score in a derby. And apart from that, our defence will likely be made up of Kjaer (Anyone agreeing on Luis’ being an adrenaline junkie, say "ay") and anyone else LE decides to shove onto the pitch using pointy objects. I’m gonna need me some pink fluffy unicorns.

The bad part also includes Lazio, not because they’re doing super at the moment, but just because they’re Lazio. Our favourite horned livestock lovers will be missing Radu, which at least means that Perrotta can just run off the pitch at the end of the game without getting tackled and Simplicio won’t have to wear a helmet. But that’s about it. The derby, as we all know (bring on the cliché) is a match different from all others. Whereas Roma results are usually pretty predictable when playing, say, the last names on the table, playing Lazio creates a different atmosphere and tension above all.

Maybe all I want to say is: just win this game already god dammit... I might be getting a little egoistic here, but since I’m working in Milan now I’m surrounded by Inter fans who still have a soft spot for the goat-people (well duh, they let ‘em win all the time) and worse: I actually have a Laziale in my office. For the love of Totti, please.


So lets get back to the basics, more specifically Italian football. It is the type of game that is based highly on tactics, stable defense and deep thought into the current situation of a game. While many may argue that type of football is ugly and unspectacular, the fans of the Calcio know it is the type of game for people who have a deeper understanding of the game(and get sick of English Football).When did italian football become about waiting? Why are we still waiting for LE to make something of a team when he OBVIOUSLY lacks managerial basics? Ability to motivate,in game approach of change and inability to adapt the team according to the opponent and the state of the players are just a small part of what LE lacks. Correct me if I am wrong but, he does not sound like the proper coach for Roma or any Italian team. So lets look at some theories why he is still in charge and why Roma is not going up:

The first theory I have came across to me as bizarre (to say the least), but lately it sounds more and more likely. Before the start of the season the team along with LE made a huge poll of money to be put in Sportingbet that Roma will finish 6th. How else would you explain loosing games while our opponents loose points and we fail to go one place up?

Another theory is LE still thinks he is in charge of Barcelona B and there is no point in going above 6th place as the cannot get the team into Primera.

LE as a developing coach who experienced Barcelona B as a primary school:motivated and focused. Time passed and he went into High School (Roma). As every teenager in High School he became more interested in parties and pu**y and stopped caring about studies.

The Roma management got LE as a part of the deal for Bojan. I think it is safe to say we can send them both back to Spain, the question is when.

To fix the situation I suggest either we all make a poll of money and join the bet (it looks like we might win a lot) or hire Lippi or Capello as private tutors for LE.


In Defense of Luis Enrique…or Just a Little Patience

Sports, business and history are plagued with clichés, so it should come as no surprise that Thomas DiBenedetto’s attempt to change all three at Roma is shrouded by one of the grandest clichés of all; Rome wasn’t built in a day. Simultaneously importing an American business model and a Spanish football model is indeed an awesome task. DiBenedetto & Co. needed a tough, energetic, and disciplined steward to lead this athletic revolution in the Eternal City. Surely a surfer/triathlete, a man who successfully traversed the Madrid-Barca divide, was up to the task.

Luis Enrique’s tenure at Roma, all eight months of it, has been piqued with equal parts excitement and frustration. The ballet in the midfield, the copious amounts of possession and the goals have been an orgasm for the eyes, while the frequent second half collapses and general defensive disarray has been maddening to even the most casual of fans.

Critics cite his general lack of experience, his formational rigidity, inability or refusal to adapt on the fly and love for all things Barcelona, as his biggest managerial flaws. Claudio Ranieri notwithstanding, the former manager to whom Enrique is most frequently compared is Luciano Spalletti. Like Spalletti before him, Enrique has been forced to adapt his preferred style to his squad’s lack of a traditional striker. Much as Spalletti used a combination of Totti, Mancini, and Vucinic in place of a true striker, Enrique rotates between the likes of Er Pupone, Borini, Osvaldo and Bojan, all deployed wide and, ideally, pressing up high on the defense, none playing the role of a traditional number nine.

The problems arise when the offense, particularly through center of the 4-3-3/4-3-1-2, becomes stagnant, when areas of the pitch become too congested, the playmaking, the through balls and creativity are solely reliant upon whomever fills that role; which has been a combo of Pjanic and Totti. The stagnation is further compounded by a general lack of fluidity in the BarcaRoma system; deep dropping players are not always matched with forward runs, players cutting in are not countered by those going out. But is this a tactical flaw? A simple misunderstanding on the part of the players? A lack of focus or effort? Tough to say for sure, probably a little of each, though I lean towards the relative lack of experience in the system thus far.

Setting aside the fact that they are, or have been, two of the best players in the world, the players who have had the most success in this quasi-Barcelona/Spalletti striker-less system, are Totti and DeRossi, both of whom flourished under Spalletti. I think that speaks to the heart of the problem, the players have not had enough exposure, either from injury, suspension, breaking team rules etc. to acclimate to the system, let alone with a consistent XI. Those that have had exposure, in some form, are performing exceptionally well. After all, even at Barcelona, their most integral parts (Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, Busquets) have been with the club since they were teenagers. Given time, Lamela, Borini, Bojan, Pjanic, Viviani, Verre, Nego, Angel, amongst others should hopefully internalize and flourish in this system. Similarly, given time, Enrique should learn the intricacies of Italian football and make better in game adaptations.

I think I’ve exceeded my allotted time here, but let me just say that I’m not enough of a tactical wizard to suggest how the current flaws can be fixed, but they appear to be more a question of familiarity than practicality. Enrique has the pedigree and temerity to see this project through, but in the immortal words of Axl Rose, all it takes is patience, just a little patience. After all, Rome wasn’t… does that go?


for Roma fans everywhere, these are trying times. desperate days. manic moments. we go from game to game like addicts seeking the next score; never knowing at the end whether we walk away with the best high, or wind up on some horrible trip. we are there every game day, with our passion and our hopes, waiting with the thought that those 11 who take the field can mould our passions and hopes into something that will lead us to euphoria, but knowing that there are no guarantees. 88

so for what is it that we then ask? we know that there is no way to ask for a win to every game we play. we know that we will not bring home a scudetto each and every year. nor can we expect any sure chance of landing a CL spot. 140

what we ask for in exchange for our passion and hope is to see 11 of our finest players take the field and, to the best of their ability, fight a fight that makes us proud to be a Roma fan (though on a personal level, what i want is to never again see the look of puzzlement on Luis Enrique's face when he sees us loosing so badly but cannot for the life of him grasp why ... when it is painfully obvious to retarded hedgehogs on crack). and it is precisely here on these terms that our present coach fails. 241

i could go into the intricacies of why this is so, but there is a far simpler way to look at this. 263

this is about something bigger than the derby. something bigger than Mr. Totti - world's greatest footballer,ever. something bigger than project-Barçaroma - the inane concept to model an Italian football club after a Spanish football club that lost to another Italian football club in the CL just 2 seasons back. 313

this is about Roma. and if the man with 2 first names can't put this team above his league-B, fancy Spanish, my-style-is-better-than-yours bag of crap tricks and see what is better for this team, then he has to go. 353



1. of a romantic fight to a Scudetto

2. That his highness might happen upon visiting Cumbria

Don’t question the latter’s likelihood, as I only have such whimsical wishes to ease the mind without having to venture into the sordid world of Zumba.

And yet with all my expectations, here we are for the second time in a row, beneath a view so ugly and goat-y that the real reason for our present discrepancies (this will not be the norm) is that we’re simply trying to burrow away from it. And though ‘things will look up’ springs to mind, in our current situation I can’t bear to induce such imagery.

There have been flashes of brilliance - flashes that the other players reflect off Totti, as he chips the ball through, over and under, and for a brief second encapsulate. Yet at the moment flashes* only flash, and while the rest of the team finds their own inner star** (yes) Roma will carry on threatening the return of rituals that the younger self would of sworn brought good luck (lucky shoes, lucky pants, lucky dance), and carry on bringing disappointment equal to when my sister told me ‘see you next Tuesday’ yet never showed up.

So… this Luis Enrique guy… ‘He’s the best Coach I’ve ever had’ Really? He is normally a subject one must quickly veer off before frowns appear, similar to the ones Vincenzo pulled last season, pre-match, whenever he wondered what those large black mechanical boxes were and why they were pointing at his face. He knew they had to be involved somehow but did he trust them? Hell no. BUT, here I go: I… Oh wait word count. Ehem.

So as I realise how little 353 words are, I’ll add some kind of direction to this drivel and ask: what were your expectations? Will Roma ever fulfil this mysterious potential that each year they prove is bloody mysterious? And why the hell did I almost believe they’d win this year? Naivety, ignorance, love, naivety

*don’t add an r

**Excludes the beard and Borini - diamonds are forever ;D


Let me take you back to June 17th, 2001. The likes of Candela, Emerson, Samuel, Cafu providing defensive cover, a young Totti with long hair, Monty’s aeroplanino celebrations, Serie A only had 18 teams instead of 20, a young Peter Pan was flying in Bari territories and denrvpnbdhilbfhr, sorry about that, I was just drooling behind my computer desk. Twas a time of joy, the Sensi heritage and much more. A damn shame I wasn’t a tifoso back then. I only fell in love (or signed my death wish, you’re choice) around 2003.

But boy, times-they-are-a-changing. Fast forward to March 2012 and we’re suddenly American, being coached by a 41 year old Spanish Barcelona wannabe, we’ve seen the rise and fall of the likes of Mexes, Toni and Chivu, witnessed Loria in giallorosso and Zarineh and Pit are still somewhere hoping for a starting spot. And we’re also inconsistent as hell. As inconsistent as a grandfather forgetting his viagra pills, thinking he’s Tarzan in bed while he’s only a mere Lindsay Lohan crackhead (just bear with me guys). In the last weeks, Roma has been beaten by Siena, Cagliari and Atalanta (even conceding 4 goals against the last 2). Those are hardly scudetto contenders, CL or even EL contenders. Midtable at best. How the mighty have fallen you may say?

True but I just can’t keep my eyes of this roster: Lamela, Totti, Pjanic, DDR, Juan, Stekelenburg, Borini, Bojan... To say it with a Superman quote: they want to be a great team Kal-El, they wish to be. And yes, they can. My thoughts? 2001 all over again baby: 3-5-2. LE likes his backs high? Then give them permission to in this formation, instead of a 4-3-3 where your defense gets raped by every Italian coach with one week of serie A experience. Marauding wings ala Cafu, steady CB’s ala Samuel (Roma one, not Inter), a trequartista (TOTTI aka God because class is permanent) and 2 attackers: one running and biting his own hand after scoring and one just tapping in and being goddamn awesome at doing so while looking as the Johnny Depp from Kwik-E-Mart. One decent summer mercato is all this team really needs to start the assault on the big boys.

To end, I’d like to throw in another phrase, from my very own personal Roma scarf: ‘Tifare è un dovere di tutti, riuscirci è un onore di pochi’. Being Romanista is so much more than just ‘being a fan’. It’s a million things at once: weeping, crying, dying within, frustrated, angry, passionate and so much more. Still, the magic thingy about it is: a 4-0 against Inter or a derby win can transform this all into one little word: Love. For the team, the city, the colors… I consider myself honored to be part of their fanbase for years now. As it would be an honor to write for their fanbase too at chiesa di Totti. Roma tifosi need a place to go to and discuss Roma (albeit with the utmost respect for eachother). Yet, a very wise man once told me:

La Roma non si discute, si ama


One thing that’s been on my mind since the American invasion was whether we would still experience those special moments La Maggica has given us in the past. I’m thinking about the timeless moments when we least expect them. Like Mirko’s diving header against Inter and the win over Bayern Munich from recent memory.

I’ve yet to see moments like that this season. Pablito’s header against Parma? Pfft. Mirko’s header was, I daresay, a sign from above. I thought I was about to witness it in the last derby when Pek’s shot barely missed the net only for the unthinkable to happen at the other end of the pitch. Forget that ending for a moment. We dominated that match. Even with 10 on the pitch and the score level, we were going for the win & looked like we would grab it. A match that began with Scarface on the bench & our Saviour unavailable. A match with Kjaer, Cote & Bojan all starting. To repeat what our own Maarten has already said, we’re better now than we were then. We’re more comfortable with the tactics, the manager, the squad & even the language. Debut derby jitters should be gone or at least be reduced to just ‘derby jitters’.

I generally feel more confident about our derbies than matches against the bottom half. Maybe it’s because I’m spoiled with our recent history against them. Yes, we had Ranieri to make sure we won the derby even if it required substituting the Holy Ones. It’s no secret that Luis Enrique’s tactical adaptability mirrors one Norwegian’s match wardrobe collection. That’s how he rolls.

As we all know, these derbies are matches that mean so much more than three points. Form has no relevance. A win for Roma would give both clubs a kick in the right direction. Could we lose? Sure, some would say that result is probable. I have faith in this club, this Holy Roman…forget it, that would be overly lame. I will be at church on Sunday. We don’t have Harry Potter, but maybe we’ll see some of Roma’s magic.


As I sit here after a long day of a not so good day I am faced with a crossroads in my life. My relationship with my girlfriend. Shit or get off the pot. Now or what the fuck? The future is so subjective and mystical. It's not that I don't love her. She is everything, beautiful, intelligent, compassionate, but we seem to be going at different speeds traveling on different roads :(

I am still sitting, not in the best of moods and I start thinking randomly. Love and War. Life is a battle as much as it is beautiful. I continue thinking and based on my last thought I come to the conclusion, that my life is too closely for my comfortability resembling my other love in my life, ROMA.

A constant battle to stay on top, with occasional identity crisis, moments of brilliance over-shadowed by short comings. Sometimes unexpected (good and bad) and inconsistent. The one thing that has always remained a constant in Roma, and what I have now come to realize my life, is that there is always a slightly vague and promising future ahead. Talent? sure. But is it enough? That remains to be seen ladies and gentlemen

Well it's approaching deadline of this thing. The fact that I am even writing this might be pretty insensitive to the situation I am in. But at least I can see that all roads can lead to a happy place. The future… Where there is no struggle or uncertainty. There is a foundation built on joy and victories. Maybe that is what identifies our parallels. The unpredictable. The fascinating part. The unknown. "My perfect life" and "My perfect Roma" would just get… well… boring.

This derby will be a special one for me. My hopes are up for the following...

Borini's knife is ready.

Totti is rested, ready and determined (given)

DDfuckingR will be on time and smiling again

LE is asked a post game question containing Igli Tare's name


Romann’s Hyposisisisis.

A trivial solution as is known to any good romanista is the awkward situation in which Roma’s score is 0 (Less than the opposition counts as 0), and it’s a case we all want to avoid and hate. But there seems to be too many factors to take into consideration to avoid said situation. And so we all preach that we all have a solution, but none that matter because there remains only one man* whose opinion actually matters, and yes he is the chinned one. Whom we have all turned on at times because apparently we were all better suited for the job at some point.(*His Tottiness is not a mortal man thus does not count)

In a vain attempt to keep on topic, and not have to redo that intro let’s start and end with the greatest of trivial solutions of them all (Trust me, I’m an engineer), the curios case of the ‘Trivial Goat’. This is a case that needs no explanation, and thank god it did not occur this time (Yes I’m betting), but let’s take into consideration why we wost this last encounter with the goats.

Without a doubt Luis Enrique is learning, and given ample amount of time (lol), may change Roma’s past few seasons from a sinking submarine to its past glorious Spal Ship days*, but even looking back at many of our recent results you find that they are all results that would have changed with a bit of luck, or in our case more vinegar. (Spalleti always righted the ship, I consider us sinking these past few seasons)

Admittedly we have lost more than our fair share of points not only to bad luck, but also bad luck in itself. (Huh?) Yes, the defending was slack without De Rossi, yes the midfield was disjointed without the beard, yes the attack was confused without him, but remember our greatest of wins featured a De Rossiless side.

In short I have no idea what I should have done or wrote about as topic, but I think I’ve solved the Romann Hypothesis. Solution: De Rossi.


Today is a day for Taddei

Today was the day

That we saw his Sexyface

As did every coach

The unsung hero, the scapegoat, the victim, he is everything except the one we want to see in the starting eleven, but still he perseveres. He is the man every single coach is wrestled into playing.

This is a homage for Rodrigo Ferrante Taddei.

He has worn that #11 shirt at rome for 8 years, and he has won a starting spot for every single coach that has been at Roma. He might be nobody’s favorite, and his shirts might be next to the bathroom at all AS Roma stores, but still he is a gladiator. The player I want to see start every single game, because when he plays so does his team.

In 190 games for AS Roma he has scored 22 goals, but most importantly he has managed to do so playing everywhere down the left and right side of the pitch. He might just be what you call a complete footballer, partnering Totti and Mancini up top for Spalletti and now partnering Heinze and Juan for Luis Enrique. Taddei deserves our love, he has won it on the field with his play and hustle and with of course his goals against Manchester United and Real Madrid.

So lets all hold our hands together and sing a song for Taddei, we have to let him now how much be appreciate his 8 years of football at our team. So lets find a way to be heard.


There comes a time in everyone’s life when trust has to be put into a place it never was. Who isn’t fearful of change? But when thinking of Rodrigo Taddei in a LB position, change is not something I want any part in.

Here we are though, the second derby of the and Rodrigo Taddei.. at LB. Roma’s latest slump in form is not due to Taddei though (believe it or not) or coach Luis Enrique, but rather a fearful youth of a fearful new system. Our Giallorossi have been re-branded with a new team, a new attitude and a new site we can finally all be proud of. The squad is looking to make a splash in Serie A with majority of new faces that have not even played within the Italian league before. The question is, how much could you possibly expect from a team so young and lacking experience?

Take a look at the team we fielded in Bergamo last week compared to what was fielded a year ago to the date. Out of the starting 11, only 2 familiar faces to the old system & philosophy of our beloved Roma. We once had a team built on relationships; a core of players put together in the early 2000’s were our main stars up until the takeover which says a lot for a team in one of the toughest leagues on the planet. Roma is a family, a lifestyle, more than just a club (We now have ties with Barca, ahem). The club ties with its players and youth goes deeper then most; Francesco and Danielle are perfect examples of how deep they run.

With that in mind, the outcome of this season hasn’t been Rudi Völler horrific but also hasn’t met our Capello or Spalletti standards which have left Roma fans worldwide wary of what’s next. Amidst the last month or so, Roma supporters worldwide have one remaining responsibility; support our Giallorossi and pray that our back line withstands the forcefulness of our city rivals. Of course, a Totti goal would make it all the merrier but a win is a win, especially against Lazio, which may be just the spark we need to put the Champions League back into perspective.