Setting aside the days tangential news—Gervinho's "outrageous" demands potentially sinking the Al Jazira deal, Roma's reported pursuit of Stevan Jovetic, their inroads with Edin Dzeko and Mattia Destro's on again off again move to Monaco—the real headline grabber was Andrea Bertolacci's effusive praise for Milan ahead of his yet-to-actually-be-confirmed €20m move to AC Milan. (okay, now it appears like a done deal)
Last week's rush of optimism that Roma had, for once, cultivated and retained a top talent was quickly diminshed as word broke that their recapture of Bertolacci was merely a prelude to a big money move to Milan. Hopes were dashed and heart rates escalated. Bertolacci may not be the second coming of Zinedine Zidane, but he was more than capable of contributing to Roma this season; a fact that can't be discounted given Walter Sabatini's usual transfer predilections.
As last week unfurled, the debate raged on. Bertolacci was an integral part of the future, but, no, he's not that good. Wait...what? Milan wants to offer how much? We'd be crazy to turn that down! There's no way its €20m! Who cares, he's Roman, you can't put a price on that!
Wherever you fell on that spectrum, as the weekend approached, resignation set in; Roma was simply too stacked in the midfield and the money too good to pass up; some Romans aren't destined to shine in the Capital, that's just the way it is.
But this morning...oh man, this morning Bertolacci dropped a bombshell, effectively burning every bridge back to his home town. Speaking ahead of his move to Milan, which may or may not be confirmed today, Bertolacci spoke of his admiration for the Rossoneri:
This is what I've always wanted, I can't wait to get started. I always told [Milan's joint-CEO Adriano] Galliani I wanted to come here, Milan was always my goal. My will was important, Milan was my first choice. I've talked with Mihajlovic, there's enthusiasm to bring back the great Milan. It's really nice to be here.
Now, he's not exactly pulling his pants down and pissing on the steps of the forum--there was nothing explicitly anti-Roma in those statements—but this much his true, whatever it is we cherish about actual Romans playing for Roma, be it the simple romanticism or the sense of superiority and authenticity engendered by the likes of Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi sacrificing fame and fortune for the club of their youth, Bertolacci evidently doesn't share that sentiment. I won't necessarily harangue him, but you can rest assured, he'll hear a mouth full from the Curva Sud when Milan comes to town.
Does this make him unworthy of ever playing for the club in the first place? I don't think so, but it should prevent you from shedding any tears over his departure. If he can't see what is special about this club, then so be it; enjoy midtable Milan, Berto. You deserve it.