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Totti Today #52: The Divine Man Bun

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It’s a mortal sin Roberto Baggio never played for AS Roma. But luckily Roma had its own unique hairstyle since 2012. The man bun: a bit shorter than a ponytail but divine nonetheless...I said ‘had’, because Federico Balzaretti recently quit his footballing career to start a new job at the club.

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Heir

His new task: Follow and judge the youngsters out on loan. And boy, Roma currently has a bazillion of those so Federico has a ton of work to do. And so Balzaretti’s Roman career ends in a kinda sad way: 1 mere appearance in season 2014-2015, 12 in the past two seasons combined, including one majestic goal against Lazio and tears. Lots of ‘em. While it all started so bright in Rudi’s first season (27 games and a lot of good displays), his final months in giallo e rosso were forgettable. The link-up between Totti and Balzaretti was a sight to behold, it worked and Roma finally found its heir for Max Tonetto. But an ugly injury decided otherwise. Again, a mortal sin.

Since December 2013 we rarely saw no42 on the pitch, just in training pics or the gymn. At only 33 years of age, Balzaretti was unwillingly forced to end his career. Panucci and Tonetto both played for Roma until they were 36. It’s a pity Balza didn’t get so far as well, he could have enjoyed a cult status like the other two. It didn’t have to end this way but there’s no reason to keep on going and hope for a miracle. Stay of execution. Federico is not the type to profit from his situation and earn his paycheck in a lazy way. Good boy.

Airport

And that’s probably the reason why he can stay at the club. He was always a likeable character and loves football. During his years he’s really grown on us. Now, he gets a administrative job from the management. He’ll monitor the youngsters out on loan and report back to Garcia. Fun job, less risks for an injury (unless you think all those stairways in the airports are dangerous).

So how must we remember Balzaretti’s passage in Rome? A succes? Decent? Mediocre? Dull? A missed opportunity? 39 Serie A games in 3 seasons sounds like someone who was a nothing more but a sub in Rome. But his reputation was far better than that, he usually was the first choice at his position among the fans. Ironic because Balzaretti has a Juve history (2005-2007), during their time in Serie B Federico only missed one game. Before that period, Comotto and him were Torino’s prized assets and also monitored by Roma. At Palermo Federico really exploded and was hailed as one of Italy’s better leftbacks. Proof? An international call-up by Prandelli.

Unfair

Leftback, the area Roma usually suffers. How happy we all were when Sabatini brought in Balzaretti. Even though already 30, he would be our solution for years to come. An older Italian leftback with experience and a regular in Italy’s national team (playing the Euro 2012 final), he reminded me of Tonetto. Alas, it turned out differently. Now I’m here writing a farewell letter to Balzaretti… I should be happy he decided to stay at the club but I can’t help but feel disappointed. He deserved one or two more seasons and a shot at some silverware to put the icing on the cake, just like Tonetto. Sometimes life treats you unfairly.

Roberto Baggio played in Serie A until he was 37. At Brescia, with success. Apparently the power of a divine man bun is not the same as a ponytail. Thanks for all the memories and crosses Federico, see you around Trigoria!