It’s almost like something out of a slap-stick comedy. A young, inspiring and fan-beloved player returns from a long injury layoff, having healed his blown ACL and finally proven to his coach that he can withstand the rigors of soccer again, when pop!, perhaps the only other young player with even more fan affinity falls to the ground, grabbing his knee in pain. Unfortunately, this isn’t Anchorman or Airplane!. This is A.S. Roma vs. The Anterior Cruciate Ligament, a heavyweight fight that Roma always loses. First Kevin Strootman, then Antonio Rüdiger, then Mario Rui (before he even played a minute of league football!) and now Alessandro Florenzi have all been felled by the ligament.
At first, reports coming out of Trigoria made it seem as if the injury was less grave than first feared; there wasn’t much swelling around the ligament, which would indicate that the ACL had not been blown. Unfortunately, Roma, the Italian National Team, and Florenzi himself managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, and i Lupi’s Wolverine will most likely be out until April.
We often underestimate Florenzi’s significance to the club at Chiesa di Totti, both in articles and in the comments section. Perhaps it’s because he’s been shuffled around the field so much he might as well be a member of the Chicago Bears, or maybe it’s because he is not as defensive a right-back as many Romanisti desire. But no one will deny that he’s been an important player for Roma for the past few years. Before his season was cut short, he had already made three assists, and his recent history is littered with good decisions made and countless kilometers ran (that Barcelona shot feels like just yesterday). Yet perhaps it’s what the statisticians can’t track, like Florenzi’s spirit and determination to work hard every day, that will be missed the most in this Roma squad. It’s a spirit that has been with him since he was only four years and told his uncle that “I’m going out to work.”, and it’s a spirit that has only helped Roma fight it’s other long-running battle, the one against the it’s rather sparse trophy cabinet.
Get well soon, Ale. Watching Roma games won’t be the same without your insane energy on the pitch.