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Totti Today #106: Madness from Montenegro

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Our dear Bren proposed a sweet idea to me. To celebrate AS Roma's 90th birthday next year in style with a gallery replay of Roma's most favorite players since 1927. Riise already passed by this week, now it's time to introduce a second name: Mirko Vucinic.

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It takes some big hairy balls to celebrate a goal by dropping your pants in front of thousands of tifosi, standing in your Colgate white knickers in a full stadium. Yet, the Montenegrin Mirko Vucinic did just that. And didn't give a sh*t about it. In fact, it even made him immortal and hugely popular. That he left Roma in 2011 and joined rival Juventus was a pain in the ass but that's just how things role in Serie A, *insert a certain Bosnian name who scores a lot of free kicks.*

Some still hold a grudge against Mirko for doing that, but in my eyes he could do nothing wrong after that one divine moment, that 90' minute goal in Roma - Cagliari in December 2008. He scored the 3-2, in the end Roma took the three points. One moment of sheer madness from Vucinic. The goal, run to the curva, he takes his pants off, enjoys. The sight of thousands of crazy tifosi sheering an even crazier Vucinic. Alongside him a beardless Dani De Rossi, Pizarro, Perrotta, Menez, Riise (him again) etc. Damn, it all seems so long ago, so many things have changed since then.

It's even longer ago when Mirko was bought by Roma, amid interest of various other Italian top clubs. After two succesful seasons at Lecce between 2004 and 2006 (next to that other talent Bojinov), a then 22-year-old Mirko signed his first contract at Roma. It was a one-year-loan first with further options, duh. His first season wasn't immediately a hit, he only stepped it up by 2008 (and that famous Cagliari moment). Mirko hit double figures in Serie A for three consecutive seasons and also shined at the European stage, the Champions League. In total he scored more than 45 goals for Roma in five seasons.

We all know what happened after that. Just like Miralem, Mirko saw the bigger picture. He joined the Bianconeri for obvious reasons, where he won 3 consecutive Scudetti. He won every prize in Italy, and in 2014 he chose a rather strange next destination: Al-Jazira from the UAE. Surely for the good weather and the local sights...It has been awfully quiet about Mirko since then, who's now 33 years. He still plays for the Montenegro NT though (founded in 2006) and scored his last international goal around this time last year, in a match against Austria.

So, how could we best describe the role of Vucinic in Spalletti's formation? Since Totti was doing mighty fine as the striker in his 4-2-3-1 (Francesco even won the European golden boot in 2007), there was no place for Mirko up front. Curiously, Luciano put Mirko at the left wing, where he could show and demonstrate his entire skill set. Dribbling, passing, vision, intelligence, tap-ins, he  had/could do it all. His ingenuity pulled Roma through some dark periods (read: especially when Totti was injured).

Of course Mirko also had his flaws, even if there were very little of them. His unpredictable behaviour, work rate or inconsistency for example. But to be fair, that's a problem 90% of all the players in Rome have. The good clearly outweighs the bad in this case, and his passage in Rome will never be forgotten by us. Yes, he did the 'pants off' celebration again with Juve and even Montenegro, but the original will never be matched (see also: songs, films, girlfriends).

Mirko will always remain that insane Roman striker turned into winger by Spalletti and one of the stars of the unforgettable AS Roma side that displayed some beautiful football during 2008-2010. Just like De Rossi, it's a dead shame he didn't win a Scudetto with Roma, but with 2 Coppe Italia and one Supercoppa, he surely left his mark in the Eternal City and our giallorosso hearts.

Associazione Sportiva Roma has seen a lot of guys come and ago since 1927, but no one as mad as Mirko. And the fans? Well, they were even madder about him.