As we countdown the days until Roma's trip to Sassuolo, we continue to bask in the glory of the Stadio della Roma, the recipient of rave reviews the world over, and talk yet another look at Cesare Prandelli's youth vs experience debate ahead of World Cup 2014.
First up, some more stadium talk...
Francesco Totti's initial impression:
Roma fans deserve their own stadium -- a unique stadium, a stadium which is really able to give them goosebumps. It’s a wonderful project; this will be the home of all Roma fans. We hope to win so much here, and really raise the Roma flag high....Me captain in the new stadium? It could be. We’ll need to see how we all are, but for sure having a project like this is something that involves us all.
While that's a rather veiled response, Totti has stated he wants to play until age 40, but given the excitement this stadium has, and will continue to generate, one could easily imagine him sticking around for the 2016-2017 season. Time will tell, naturally.
Next up, Daniele De Rossi:
We really are projected towards the future. We can’t wait to play in this stadium -- of course we’ll keep winning in the current one too, but the new one is making our mouth water. The support will be more influential than anywhere else; it will be an extra gear and an extra source of pride, it will beat all others in terms of beauty, passion, heat -- it will be just wonderful
Of course, if Totti decides to close out his career with the Olimpico, the man wearing the captain's armband in the Stadio dell Roma (name pending, I'm sure), would be none other than DDR. Aesthetics and engineering aside, De Rossi hit the nail on the head here; the biggest difference will simply be the proximity of the fans, which, given their, shall we say, impassioned support, might make for the biggest homefield advantage in all of Europe.
Lastly, we turn to Rudi Garcia:
We will write the history of Roma on this pitch. It’s such a great club but it will be easier to win trophies in the new stadium. The fans can be so influential on the result of a match -- we see it all the time, in Munich or in Dortmund. It was a great idea to refer to the Colosseum and render the Curva Sud so unique. The Americans really have got it -- in order to win you need to have fabulous facilities, and we’ll finally have them with this new stadium
Reading Garcia's words, one can presume he intends on being Roma's headman in 2016. Of course, a lot of things can happen in the ensuing two years, but Roma doesn't have much room for complaint when it comes to the early returns on the Rudi Garcia regime.
I also believe that the stadium is extremely important to restore AS Roma as the global leader that it has been in the past and that it should be, Roma should be the greatest team in the world. In my mind we are and the players are, but in the rest of the world’s mind we need to get there and the stadium will bring us much closer.
Just a quick quote from James Pallotta, but it speaks to his belief that this is the first, and perhaps most important, step into making Roma a perennial contender in Italy and Europe. It's certainly starting to feel that way, which is going to make the two year wait absolutely interminable.
Granted it was simply an AP wire report, but the fact that this stadium has made news in South Carolina, not exactly a bastion of Italian soccer, speaks volumes about the Roma media machine, if nothing else.
The Stadio Olimpico has been a great place for us to play but it has clearly had its time....(The new stadium) is clearly going to give us a competitive advantage.
The Daily Mail chips in on the Stadio della Roma coverage. Nothing we haven't seen already, however, again, its further testament to the amount of attention this grand design has received.
Moving on to non-stadium news...
If you needed further proof that Walter Sabatini is among the best at what he does, look no further. With €203.4m made from player sales since 2008-2009 (though, obviously some of the credit goes to his predecessors), Roma ranks ninth in the world in transfer revenue.
It's an interesting list in many ways, since we see some of the worlds most profligate spenders also among its most shrewd salesmen (Madrid, Inter, Liverpool), but it's also dotted with semi-large clubs that have a knack for developing and cashing in on top talent (Porto, Spurs, Udinese). The global football landscape has changed quite a bit since 2008-2009, Spurs have become a bit of a heavyweight in their own right, while the fortunes of the Milanese clubs have fallen somewhat in the past 24 months, so it will be quite interesting to see how this changes going forward.
Certainly as Roma fans, we wait with baited breath to see if Roma's purchases will outweigh her sales or vice versa. With players as coveted as Miralem Pjanic and Mehdi Benatia currently under contract, there is certainly a dollar or two to be made on their sales, while the constant pining for players like Stevan Jovetic could tip the scales in the opposite direction.
The next few summers will be interesting, to say the least.
This one is a couple of days old at this point, but Cesare Prandelli seems to be keeping all options open at this point:
Last night I saw some youngsters who finally dared to dream and this bodes well for the future...Are the doors open to Cassano and Totti? Absolutely yes. I never closed the door on anyone. Clearly we will make some choices, evaluate the fitness levels and then we’ll see.
Prandelli is playing the political game quite well, neither confirming nor denying, neither eliminating or assuring any possibilities. Clearly the respective records of Francesco Totti and Antonio Cassano speak for themselves (to different degrees, of course), but Tuesday was nothing if not a showcase for Ciro Immobile, Alessandro Florenzi and Mattia Destro.
If it comes down to one of the three youngsters, one would imagine Florenzi's versatility and pace would give him an edge.
With a glut of matches over the course of the past ten days or so, its not surprising that Roma's training today was somewhat brief. So, as we head into the weekend with a trip to Sassuolo and the replay against Parma, we'll end this run down here.