Its been a bit of a slow news week around Trigoria, but the latest bit of news is as good as it gets. Within the past few hours, word came down that Francesco Totti will not only make the squad list Monday at Milan, nor will he simply be available, he's going to be front and center in Rudi Garcia's lineup.
He's baaackkk! In case you'd forgotten, Er Purpone has been out for over two months, and while Roma were able to get back to their winning ways last week, his presence was sorely missed. To refresh your memory, through eight appearances, Totti has three goals and six assists, the latter of which still leads the league, as do his 3.5 key passes per match. With Miralem Pjanic suspended for this match, Totti's return is pretty fortuitous, as Roma would have assuredly been up a creek without a, uh...playmaker. However, with this being his first action in two months, and with Destro rounding back into shape himself, keep an eye on Garcia's substitution pattern Monday, as his two most important scoring threats still need to be treated with kid gloves.
Either way, come Monday, do whatever you gotta do--skip school, ditch work, tell your dentist you'll handle that cavity on your own--to see this match, it's been far too long since we've seen a properly executed back heel.
While Totti is set to make his triumphant return to action, Marco Borriello looks like he'll miss the tilt against his former employer. Borriello picked up an ankle injury mid-week, but with the return of Mattia Destro, Borriello's Roma career is effectively moot at this point. To his credit, when The Man Who is Too Much Man, has stepped on the pitch, he's done pretty well, holding up play, doing the dirty work and added some much needed strength to the front line.
The Serie A is not at the level of the Premier or La Liga but it is definitely something higher than the Eredivise. I wanted to play with world-class players such as Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi. The level of football in Italy? There are teams better than us. The language? I can not read the newspaper because I do not know much Italian well. I speak a little English and a little Dutch during the interviews.
If you're the type prone to psychological self-harm, there are acres of space in between those lines. Are Strootman's words mere fluffery, or do they foreshadow his future plans? Will Strootman bolt for greener--well, cloudier, certainly--pastures in England, where he has a better grip on the language and the opportunity to experience a higher level of competition? Or will Italy experience a collective economic renaissance in the next five years, making it a haven for the games greatest players?
This one is a few days old at this point, but I'm sure you'll enjoy me saying félicitations, Monsieur Garcia. He may not have had all the cache of some of the other names bandied about this summer, but it certainly looks like Roma may have snared the next big thing in the managerial world.
Rudi Garcia proved one man can change almost everything. He has been extraordinary and managed in a short time to give a balance to the team and to overturn the opinion of some players only a few months after the protests
Garcia's remarkable Roman turnaround hasn't been lost on the man many have already pegged to take his place in the not too distant future. While the prospect of Prandelli storming Roma's sidelines titillated many, each man has their respective jobs to focus on for the foreseeable future, and Garcia certainly isn't going anywhere anytime soon.
Monday Night Calcio is always a special occasion (well, maybe if there was an Italian version of Hank Williams Jr), but this week's edition marks a special occasion for James Pallotta and Company, their 100th match at the helm. What started in Bratislava two-and-a-half years ago finally seems to be under stable footing and headed in the right direction. Bratislava always makes me think of this, which then leads to this.
Through all the highs and lows, the experimentations, the coaching changes and the constant stream of fullbacks, Roma has actually managed a winning record these past 26 months, which is itself an indictment of how low things sunk prior to the Garcia Revolution.
So that's it for this week's hastily thrown together news recap. Next up, Milan on Monday night.