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Totti Tuesday: The quest

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The epic journey of wizard Totti and his Fellowship of the Wolf to the European highland games continues after the slaying of the wild beast of Genoa at Mount Olimpico…

Paolo Bruno

Ok a bit exaggerated don’t you think? But to be fair, it kinda embodies this whole season, an unforgetful quest for Champions League booty. After an abysmal 2012-2013 season, no one expected a top 3 finish that soon. However, smart choices in both the trainer and the player department saved probably two or three years of our Giallorosso souls watching Roma slightly intoxicated on wobbly streams at 3AM, fighting for a mere fifth or sixth place with Lazio, Verona or Parma. Roma changed into top gear even faster than Jeremy Clarkson or Richard Hammond (I always forget the third bloke of the series, apologies dear sir).

The only two Italians starting on the team sheet both scored. Both born and bred in Rome. It made our Sunday even better. For a minute there, I thought it was Radja and not Maicon who scored the third goal (baldies are baldies, period) so I was initially even more ecstatic than Totti’s 231th in Serie A or Osvaldo’s Florenzi’s bicycle goal. If you’re pc would somehow freeze while rewatching the game, you’d believe Bradley was still lurking around in midfield. Until your stream runs again and you see the power, flair and intelligence Radja brings to Roma’s midfield. I know as a Belgian I’m a bit (ok a lot) biased but hell, you know I’m not lying son. Daniele can’t be denied a starting spot (remember the wall he, Castan and Benatia form) while Pjanic is the only creative spark in there so it practically looks like a toss-up between Deep Sthroat and Radja. Both deserve to play and both will get their minutes. The key is that Rudi has to keep ‘em happy by Summer. Then, with European midweek games incoming, there will be enough posibilities to keep everyone sharp and fit.

Back to Genoa. After Benatia’s fifth goal of this campaign, the Olimpico basically became a training field with eleven and later ten white training cones. Matuzalem’s red card and following consternation around Cofie’s sub was true Comedy Capers material. Afterwards, I ran to my local bookmaker putting fifty grand on Mehdi as Capocannoniere 2013-2014 and soon to be appointed as Morocco’s next Maghreb king. The second 4-0 victory this season is a fact, there’s also a 5-0 out there and a couple of 3-0 wins. Count in the Coppa qualification against Sampdoria and last week was a good week.

In general, life as a Giallorosso is good again. It was the perfect reaction after a weak game against the Bianconeri. Admittedly, the Juventus loss was ugly but those are not the games which ultimately decide over CL or not. Genoa or Catania at home are. And Roma has rarely failed on those occasions bar Cagliari at home. Sassuolo was a done deal until Berardi’s 94th minute (!) equalizer. And his goal wasn’t a fluke, just ask Milan. In all honesty, this is the way it is meant to be. Far enough from 1st place to keep media and tifosi calm about Roma’s chances, a healthy advantage over fourth place to keep those same tifosi happy. Step by step to May. Teenager steps, no babysteps anymore.

Roma now have 44 (same as Radja’s shirt number, giggly giggly) points after the first half, never before have they collected so many points in a Serie A consisting of twenty teams. Double it and that makes 88 points, in most cases a Scudetto-winning point total right there. If it not were for a dominant and utterly rampant Juve side. For a CL-hunting team however, it’s a huge step in the right direction. Like I said, the journey continues… Don’t miss out on it.