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Totti Today #8: The deprivation of puberty

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No rest for the wicked. In and out of Rome. We knew it was gonna be a busy schedule but you don’t see me complaining, right? Roma’s just coming off its third Serie A game and is already preparing for the trip to Parma. The fourth of a total of six games in the space of seventeen days.

Paolo Bruno

Luckily, the combo City-Juve is for later this month and the start of October. Right now Roma has the advantage to deal with the smaller ones in both Italy and Europe. Yet, bodies are still flying left and right. Ucan, Daniele, Castan, Astori, Iturbe plus the known cases of Balzaretti and Strootman remain a headache but it’s not the time to grumble. We all desperately wanted the Champions League, we got it albeit making some sacrifices. You can’t make an omelet without breaking some eggs, people. Yanga-Mbiwa was the obvious fourth choice CB in August but he already started in the third Serie A game while youth products like Somma and Calabresi tasted from the Olimpico bench because Roma was in need of bodies. And it’s only September. The long and bumpy road, blah blah blah. You know how Roma rolls, we all saw it coming.

It’s times like these when it life’s good. It’s good to be a Roma fan. The final whistle of Cagliari is still echoing in our ears or we can already look forward to the Gialloblu meeting this Wednesday. And the icing on the cake: we’re damn good at winning our games as well! Four in a row. On top of that, Florenzi loves his grandma Aurora so much he got a yellow card for it and Rudi’s (50) apparently having fun with the younger Francesca Brienza, a tv host from Roma TV who could be his daughter. Ah, Rome, the city of l’amour. Bringing people together since 1927.

But enough about grannies and 50-year-olds. Let’s not forget the young ones who recently officialy joined Roma: Pietro Tomaselli and Christian Totti. Two prodigies: one with a massive heritage thanks to his dad, the other being called the ‘Belgian Messi’. Ok ok, he may be the same height as Messi but Pietro’s only 9. So take it easy fellow fans and wait until approx. 2023 to judge this kid. In time Sabatini will look after him. Who knows if both even become professional football players anyway, puberty can do strange things. Let alone if they start following Miley Cyrus’ Twitter account or watch Lil’ John rap videos.

Even though he’s a fellow countryman (errr, boy), I know little about Pietro. Huge talent from Anderlecht’s youth sector, his family chose Roma for the project and probably their Italian roots. He gets to enjoy himself, his parents get a job from the club (his father becomes a scout for example) and Roma even bought a house for them. They live happily ever after, all is shiny and sparkling? Not really. Belgian newspapers questioned the move, mostly due to Pietro’s age and the huge pressure they put on the kid. What happens when he suddenly refuses to play football? Or when he get gravely injured at the age of 16? And what about the whole child labour thing? Remember the recent turmoil surrounding Barcelona and FIFA’s transfer ban. Pietro is too young to understand his situation but both parties are taking a small risk here, even though it’s being described as a fairytale in some media.

From one 9-year old to another. Christian (who becomes 9 in November) follows in his father footsteps and joined the youngest age category of AS Roma, I Pulcini. Is it destiny? Written in the stars? Preached by Zeman, Falcao, Giuseppe Giannini and Bruno Conti sitting in a small bar in Trastevere in 1997? Or forced by his parents and the club? Time will tell. One thing’s certain: Christian will be closely monitored and followed by many directors, staff and tifosi. Every pass, every tackle, goal and minute he plays in giallo e rosso will rake up old memories of a young Francesco somewhere around 1985.

1992-1993 was Totti’s debut season. If their timelines are similar, that means Christian would make his first senior appearance in the season 2021-2022. With a possible ToTo (Tomaselli-Totti) frontline in 2023 and Florenzi as our captain? I hope from the bottom of my heart Aurora lives to see the day.