Before we get a full frontal assault from Silly Season, let's continue basking in the glory of Roma's season gone by. Perhaps the most amazing, not to mention relieving, part of the Giallorossi's record breaking season was the complete reversal of fortune experienced by Miralem Pjanic, a player as talented any on this club, and one who was grossly miscast under the direction of Zdenek Zeman during Roma's woebegone 2012-2013 season.
Fortunately for Roma, thanks to some fresh French blood, Pjanic got his kavorka back. Pjanic finished the season as a top ten rated player, turning in six goals and six assists, while leading Roma in key passes and successful dribbles (tied with Gervinho) and finishing second to Daniele De Rossi in total passes.
Set aside the terrific numbers for a second and recognize the little victory here: the simple fact that Pjanic, after an intermittent season under Zeman and Andreazzoli, made himself an indispensable part of Roma's starting XI was victory enough, but Pjanic had a transcendent season, putting the frustrations of the past behind him and taking the next step towards stardom.
If, at some point in the future, Pjanic is considered among the world's best midfielders, his 2013-2014 season will be the genesis. And while we already devoted an entire piece to his jaw dropper versus Milan, what we're about to relive was no slouch in its own right.
October 13, 2013: 45th Minute
From the novice fans to the expert journalists, everyone loves a beautifully bent free kick. There's just something about this confluence of sport and physics that reveals the true splendor of this game; how 90 minutes of listless drudgery can transform into a work of art in nanoseconds.
As Roma fans, it had been quite a while since we've seen one of our guys bend one like Pjanic did, and in the Derby del Sole, no less. The most impressive part of this free kick was the distance, or lack thereof. Pjanic stood poised over the ball from no more than 23-yards away, meaning the momentum, force, spin and trajectory all had to be perfect; there was no room for error whatsoever; if he muscles up a bit too much, it sails high and wide, if he tries to get too cute, it dies at Pepe Reina's feet.
Let us not forget that Roma put this match out of reach thanks to 71st minute penalty, also by Pjanic, so if Roma enters the half time dressing room 0-0, this could have been a completely different match.
Football is all about moments; moments of synchronicity, moments of brilliance, and moments of power, each of which unfolds over the course of 90 minutes, pushing and pulling, fighting for supremacy. But then there are moments like this one, fleeting and ephemeral, requiring absolute perfection from the actors on the stage; one misstep and the moment, the match, and the memory are gone.
But Pjanic didn't wilt under pressure, he didn't err and he didn't miscalculate. The moment demanded perfection, and that is precisely what he delivered.