Ironically Roma fans have a hard time being realistic. A loss doesn’t mean the end of the world as some might predict here in Church. A draw in Napoli isn’t a bad result per se. Qualification for the next round in the Champions League doesn’t suddenly make us contenders and on par with the likes of Real, Bayern and Barça. Just like a win in Napels wouldn’t have changed a god damn thing. Roma is sick. Very sick. It’s time to face the facts.
No single win in its last 6 games. The last two games ended 0-0 with an utterly uninspirational performance from the Giallorossi. The derby win in November was probably the last bit of passion we saw from Garcia’s
wolves men boys children. Where’s the fire? The (positive) tension and vibes in and around the Olimpico? The out of this world celebrations? The man handling/molestations in front of the Curva Sud after an unexpected last gasp winner? Oh how I miss Taddei, Vucinic, Perrotta and Cassetti.
Tales of Tonetto
Just as things couldn’t get more painful to watch, Roma drew Real Madrid in the Champions League Round of 16. A duel which happens to be one of my (and probably our) fondest memories of that typical Roma magic during 2005-2009. And more specific the 1-2 win in March 2008. A long long time ago. Salah, Digne, Florenzi, Ucan, Iturbe, Rudiger and Ponce still had freckles and were at school.
Doni, Cicinho (Panucci 87), Juan, Mexes, Tonetto, Aquilani, De Rossi, Taddei, Perrotta (Pizarro 77), Mancini (Vucinic 65), Totti. That was the lineup our coach threw out that night. The familiar 4-2-3-1. Fun fact: Heinze and Baptista played for Real that evening but would later don the red and yellow colors of Roma. Daniele and Alberto controlled midfield, Tonetto gave pinpoint crosses, Taddei scored a wonderful header. I feel bad for the younger fans, they only know the game because of the YouTube highlights or tales from old, gray men like Bren and Dhaw (no offence guys).
That game, that year, those seasons, things were different. The look, the feel, the movement, it was pure gold and a sight to behold. The double win against Real in 2008 (yes, we also won 2-1 at home) was not a hick-up, Roma also defeated ManU 2-1, Lyon 0-2 away, Chelsea 3-1,... In 2010 Ranieri also brought back some sweet European glory thanks to a monumental 3-2 win against Bayern, for instance remember Borriello’s goal?
How the times have passed. Garcia’s Roma has been nothing but a disappointment in Europe ever since 2013. Barely a clean sheet, a lot of embararassments. The Frenchman rarely managed a win. This season Roma squeezed through with a ‘grand’ total of 6 points in 6 games. The worst of every other qualifier. People might ask themselves why the hell do we even complain? We earn a lot of money while we played badly and we get 2 more prestigious matches after New Year. It’s better and more fun than the Europa League, right?
No. It doesn’t work that way. It’s unfair. Unfair because this team, these colors, these fans deserve a lot more. The young ones deserve to know how it felt back in 2008. They will never know and experience it under the guidance of Rudi. Not in European games anyway.
On March 8 2016 Roma again travel to Real Madrid, 8 years after that famous and historical win. One of Europe's most impressive frontlines faces a defence without a true leader, without a plan. Time for some realism: if Garcia is still in charge we won’t repeat that trick from 2008, I can tell you that.
Unless…. Unless we bring back the same coach from 2008. You know who I’m talking about.