Depending on where you live right now, the leaves are changing color, the bite in the air is growing increasingly crisp, you find yourself craving apple cider and donuts, and you suddenly no longer have use for your bikinis or banana hammocks. That's right, fall is here, if only in spirit. Which means it's officially football season, which means FIFA will do something to *%&! it all up.
This time around, they decided to plop a round of World Cup qualifying on our laps after only two weeks of Serie A action, which, let's face it, is the only kind of football that matters. So, before we suffer through yet another weekend without Hamsik's haircut, Gervinho's gaping forehead, or Marco's moustache, let's take a look at what's going on with the Giallorossi.
To say the future of our club depends on the fragility of Mattia Destro's meniscus might be a bit of stretch, but Roma have invested a lot in young Mattia, both financially and emotionally. They've also shown a fair bit of patience for his hairstyles.
With no discernable recovery schedule, no one seems to know when Destro will be fit to play, which leads to plenty of finger pointing. In this instance, the He Said-She Said battle is being waged between the respective medical staffs of Roma and the Azzurri.
For Roma's part, there argument is essentially this:
He had some sort of new injury with the Italy Under-21 squad in Israel this summer...As often happens with famous athletes, there are interests around him and his entourage pushed for a miraculous cure, eager to have him treated outside the Roma medical staff.
With the need to make a killing at the European Under-21 Championships in Israel, The Azzurri, so claims Roma, pushed him too hard, too soon, finding their medical diagnosis to be superior to that of a lowly club like Roma. But, when you have a chance to win the Under 21's, you gotta go for it, right?
Not to be outdone, Gli Azzurri turned the blame game the requisite 180º
During his stay with the Under-21 side in Israel Mattia had no new injury, nor a relapse of the old one. Both the athlete and the Roma medical staff told me of numerous incidents of swelling, but Destro arrived in decent condition. He took part in individual training sessions and played only for fractions of the games. Mattia left the Italy squad after the Euros with his knee and muscular tone in better condition than when he first arrived.
The fact that this is even an issue isn't really a function of a slow news cycle (well, maybe), but rather an indication of Destro's importance to club and country over the next decade. You don't see people hurling accusations at each other over Fabio Borini, do you? (no disrespect intended, he's good, but not Destro-good). So I suppose, in some respects, it's a good problem to have.
Curious about how this quagmire came to be? Follow along....
Romanews offers a brief timeline of Mattia Destro’s injury saga, the latest in an eternal line of Roma melodramas. What started all the way back in January in the semifinals of the Coppa Italia, and may or may not have been exacerbated in Israel in June, Mattia’s meniscus injury appears to be the ultimate Catch-22. In and of itself, a meniscus injury is not that serious; at least not in the you better find a new job, kid, kind of way, but the recovery period is tenuous and tedious.
Given the presence of Mario Balotelli and Stephan El Shaarawy in Gli Azzurri, treating Destro with kid gloves and success for the Azzurri aren't mutually exclusive. Roma has every right to do with Destro as they please, restricting him from national team duty, at least for now, in no way limits what Prandelli can do in 2014.
Needless to say, given the dearth of central attacking options, Roma need a healthy Destro post haste.
Speaking of Roma players injured on National Team duty, everyone’s favorite (voluntarily) follically challenged midfielder suffered an ankle injury that kept him out of the US’s loss to Costa Rica. The injury was apparently so severe that Bradley needed crutches, though he was later seen sans crutches in the second half. Say what you will about Michael, he’s a tough bastard.
The injury should keep Captain America sidelined for Tuesday’s clash with Mexico. Which, for anyone too high and mighty to enjoy CONCACAF football, is one of the world’s great international rivalries, so check it out, you won’t be disappointed.
Remember him? He's still a Roma employee, one who fared pretty well during Greece's most recent run of World Cup qualifying. Torosidis played on both flanks against Greece's tiny European foes, exemplifying the versatility that presumably first attracted Roma last winter. He may not be a world beater, but he's not without his merits, so it will be interesting to see how Rudi makes use of him this season.
This one has photographic evidence as well. DDR did his usual thing for Prandelli, while the lone goal on this night was scored by Alberto Gilardino, the almost Giallorosso. Something still tells me he may find his way to Rome before long, but Alberto can occasionally find his way to the end of a cross, so worse moves could be made. But for now, in Genoa he remains.
Hey, speaking of the Grifone...
Gilardino, at the heart of last week's much discussed three way center forward swap between Roma, Genoa and Juventus, may have had a new home were it not for Roma. While the news earlier in the week hinted that Walter Sabatini quashed the deal because Quagliarella wanted Lazio over Roma, Genoa president Enrico Preziosi has revealed that it was Sabatini's desire to take Fabio on loan that put the nail in that three way....but, let's face it, three ways are always awkward, no matter how you slice it.
This one is a few days old now, but its a pretty interesting take on a pre-pubescent Daniele De Rossi, one who fancied himself a striker. It seems that, whether out of a desire to remain a goal scorer, or simply the bond he forged with his mates at Ostia Mare, DDR wasn't exactly keen on making the switch to his Dad's club, at least not initially.
See, the will he or won't he drama with DDR and Roma is nothing new.
Hopefully this will tide us over for the day. But this is Roma we're talking about, so I'm sure it won't be long before we uncover a molehill we can collectively turn into a mountain.