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Totti Today #55: The Balkan Bullets

Well, it’s been a rather fruitful week for AS Roma. First they were drawn into a relatively easy but interesting group in the Champions League, then they defeated Juve for the first time since 2013 while they found themselves a new Candela and Batistuta, plus Ibarbo looks on his way out of Rome... You won’t hear me complaining.

Paolo Bruno/Getty Images


Rudi’s first Serie A win against Juventus, the Bianconeri got two men sent off, Lazio lost 4-0, Digne signed, sealed and delivered, Okaka scored his first goal in Belgium,… I can go on and on and on. Simply put: It was a good week. Too bad Serie A takes a traditional break due to international duties. Right now Roma stands at +4 on Juve while from the title contenders only Inter is above us in the standings. But the Nerazzuri don’t convince and they faced two inferior opponents, Atalanta and Carpi. It's true Totti didn't feature in both games but I'm sure his time will come, we have enough big matches coming on, no need to fatigue him when we're up 2-0. Name me one 39-year-old field player in a top European competition who is a regular starter? So yes, it may still be August but there are worse ways to start your season I’m sure. More importantly, Rudi and co need to keep that train rolling. Momentum: check!

I’m ashamed to admit it but I’m a pretty big fan of the Eurovision Song Contest. Never dull, excentric, fashion, glamour, kitsch, hilarious dance moves, good-looking women… And thanks to Eurovision we got one of the greatest Serbian songs ever (don’t expect much of it though): Ovo Je Balkan. My mind is not on Serbia right now (bye Adem, weep weep) but another country in that region: Bosnia-Herzegovina. Because it gave us two of its finest footballers since the new decade: Miralem and the new kid on the block, Dzeko. A tall powerful striker who can score on important occasions: check!

Boys and girls

Both Bosnians were crucial against Juventus and will probably remain crucuak for the rest of Roma’s campagn. If there are any Bosnians lurking around Chiesa: Thank you, I love your country and I’m going to name my firstborn Bosnio (a boy) or Bosnia (a girl). In fact, I love France as well. Digne played his very first game in Italy and immediately got Juventus to deal with. Lucas did just fine and has got that LB position firmly in his grasps. However, it is too soon to call him the next Candela. Yet. Though I feel a lot better with Digne than a guy named Cole, Torosidis or Palmieri. Star leftback: check!

So not only a commanding performance against the reigning Italian champions but also amusement due to Lazio’s breakdown in Chievo and, to top it off, an interesting draw in the Champions League. True, Roma will face the current European champions Barcelona but we were poised to meet a big gun in any case. Barca, Real, Bayern or PSG,it doesn’t make any difference. More important was to avoid a big name from pot 2 and a tough opponent from pot 4. With Leverkusen and BATE we did just that. Or was a group with for example Barcelona, Manchester City and Wolfsburg a better thing? Doable group in the CL: check!


Roma start their quest at home against Barcelona and visit BATE from Belarus in the end of September. So no chilly trips to Moscow in November: check! The final game is Roma-BATE, which could prove a vital match for second and third place. All in all, I’m satisfied. Pallotta has got himself a gala match against Messi and co while the club keeps its chances to progress to the next round or less intact. Together with my girlfriend, the Belgian sun and songs from Muse on the radio, Roma made me a happy man this week.

Oh, and after the international break the Gialllorossi's schedule looks like this: Frosinone and Samp away, Sassuolo and Carpi at home. The good news just keeps on coming.