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Totti Today #29: The Frenchman’s fate

After a while, it’s only natural love fades way. You see, it’s a chemical thing, basic biology 101. At first there’s a honeymoon period aka love is all around. But it is doomed to somehow decline, to simply become a daily habbit, routine, maybe even boring. Depends on how much work and effort both parties put into their relationship. Is Garcia able to keep his Roman one intact? Or are we simply witnessing a slow, painful and inevitable divorce?

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History doesn’t lie. Sometimes players are just fed up with a trainer, or vice versa. Sometimes the chemistry vanishes, disappears and makes way for… well, just plain ordinary days. Nothing new or fancy, just a ‘normal day at the office’. The surprise effect is long gone.The magic is worked out. Ranieri’s career in Roma ended that way, same for Zeman and Spalletti. Some people were even enthusiastic about Luis Enrique at the start as he was brought in to bring some very own ‘Barcelona’ to Rome. Tiki taka for the Spanish, Joga bonito for the Brazilians. Fancy football that amazes crowds and, best of all, brings you silverware (Barcelona 2008-2012 for example). Exception in the trainer’s guild: Luigi Del Neri was just a disaster waiting to happen, forget about that chapter in Roma’s book pretty please.

At least the games of Zeman and Spalletti were most of the time enjoyable and spectucular, yes even the defeats. I (and most of the people) can’t help but feel this Roma 2014-2015 just feels plain boring compared to last season. Reminiscent of the Luis Enrique era. Especially after the 4-2 win against Inter in November. That was our last home win btw (Empoli in the Coppa Italia ended in a 1-1 after 90min). Roma’s sick, it’s got a heavy drawitis. The fortress of Olimpico has lost its glamour. On top of that, the Giallorossi failed to score against Parma, needed extra time at home to win against Empoli, just narrowly won in Cagliari, went out in the Coppa and the Europa League so far has been a disappointment as well. Dark times indeed… Whatever Rudi and Walter may say during their pressers. Something’s wrong, denying that makes you look like a fool.

Let’s talk trainers for a minute. Il Boemo’s last game in charge: Roma – Cagliari 2-4 in 2013. An abysmal game. Ranieri’s Waterloo: Genoa-Roma, 4-3 in 2011. Minor detail: Roma were leading 0-3 after 51 minutes. Then Loria came on and sh*t went downhill faster than Usain Bolt on a mixture of LSD, Nutella needles and Red Bull. Roma – Juventus 1-3 in 2009 decided Spalletti’s fate. Those are three clear examples of players giving up hope. The trainer lost the locker room. The locker room is lost. The management didn’t fire Luis Enrique during 2011-2012 but most of them were probably already fed up with the Spaniard’s tactics and mentality since September. Like Del Neri, doomed from the start. At least Luis had the dignity to take the honourable way out and left Roma, now he florishes in an environment that is better suited for him, namely Catalonia.

Montella and Andreazzolli fixed some bugs after Ranieri and Zeman respectively left and actually got pretty decent results. But there’s a reason why they didn’t stay as head coach. Fear of things becoming too familiar, too rusty. Roma needs a fresh face every now and then, it’s no place for a Ferguson or Wenger. Luckily Garcia was a hit, a bull’s eye. Yet it’s just a matter of time before Rudi encounters his own Cagliari, Genoa or Juventus. When? That depends if Rudi is prepared to make sacrifices.The Hellas result doesn’t change a thing, not even a Feyenoord defeat will. Sometimes couples come out stronger out of a crisis, sometimes the wound is simply too big and therefore it cannot be healed.

Contrary to what I’m preaching here, this whole Garcia project is not over. The suits still believe in him. For now. What the fans may shout or throw during Trigoria training sessions. Rudi might even make it until May if he safely keeps Roma in top 3. But the Summer is the ideal moment for both parties to reflect on their past two seasons together and the huge difference in perception between 2013-2014 and 2014-2015. The joy, the atmosphere, the interviews,… It all has taken a blow in Rome, it downgraded. Fun is nowhere to be seen, pressure and seriousness have taken the upper hand. Rudi has annoyed too many people this season. He has changed, mentally and physically (remember the Jekyll-Hyde transformation of Luis Enrique? Yeah, Rome does that to you). Likewise for the players: Radja, Pjanic, De Rossi, Maicon, Gervinho,… It’s not that shiny and surprising anymore. Something needs to happen in Rome. Anything. Je ne sais quoi.

Juventus personally signed Spalletti’s divorce in 2009. Could the Bianconeri do the same with Garcia and thus ironically pave the way for a celebrated Poobah comeback? The players will decide if they still back the Frenchman or not… The difference in shapeand confidence between the two teams cannot be bigger as Juve are currently -9 and a good result in Rome will 90% sure gift them the Scudetto. The signs are not good.

This time, I’ll be more than happy with a draw…