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Totti Today #99: Red Redemption

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Shoot yourself in the foot, if there's one club that can build a personification around that saying, it's AS Roma. After 3 red cards in 2 games, Roma's self-destruction led to an early exit in the CL. Where do we go from here?

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See, I like red. A warm and passionate color. Vibrant, energizing. It also happens to be one of the two colors from my favourite club. But enough is enough. Too much red will kill ya (see also: Call of Duty, Battlefield and Counter-Strike). And boy did Roma turn it into a red week that's for sure. Over two meetings with Porto, Roma received more red cards than they scored goals (1 - 3). It sounds hard to do, not for Associazione Sportiva Roma.

The first red card for Vermaelen completely changed the game and also outcome of the first tie, the other 2 in the second tie made sure Porto had an albeit easy evening in the Olimpico, Roma's 'Europan theatre of nightmares'. After a horrible away fixture for Emerson (penalty), he decided to also brainfart in the Olimpico. To make it worse, he did both those things as a sub, while there were other capable people on the bench (Fazio, Totti, SES). Daniele De Rossi, the third 'victim', saw his 12th red card in a Roma jersey, his 14th red card including the NT of Italy. Talking about a hard learner.

Maybe it was because Dani played a more defensive role at centreback, or maybe it was just pure frustration for another European night that went wrong. We were all warned before the start: Roma and Europe is rarely a good mix. The highs are pretty nice and unforgettable (3-1 Chelsea, 3-2 Bayern, 5-1 CSKA, 1-2 in Real or 0-2 in Lyon), the lows are,... well, pretty god damn low. Horrible, shameful and gruesome experiences.

Slovan Bratislava, the trashings in Manchester and Barcelona, the home loss against Bayern, the elimination against Middlesbrough, the penalty drama against Arsenal,... And now the latest installment is Porto, a qualifier that Roma could and should've won. If you saw how they strangled Porto in the first half hour in Portugal, then you were dead certain that they would advance and go into the CL without a problem. Then the red happened...

Overall, Roma's team belongs in the CL. Dani, Vermaelen, Woj, Manolas, Kevin, Radja, Dzeko, SES, Salah, Florenzi and Totti, those are names that would look good on a CL form. Porto's team has more unknowns and younger talents but they believed 100% in qualification and took advantage of Roma's red rage. Kudos to them, shame on you Roma! It's the highest stage of club competition in the world, no room for amateurs and lousy mistakes.

In a way, it's also some sort of redemption for the club. The CL is gone, no matter how hard we condemn the players and staff on this forum, it won't change a thing. From Porto Roma travel to Sardinia to face Borriello's Cagliari. Not the same prestige but knowing our Roma, a very dangerous trip. Now there's only Serie A left. Do the players really look forward to the Europa League or Coppa? No, they joined Roma for a reason. To fight alongside the biggest teams in Europe. Juve, Napoli, Lazio, Inter, they are nice encounters but the CL nights are always magical and entertaining. And then I'm not even talking about the financial upside of it all.

Alas, it won't be in 2016-2017. It's gonna be a long season for all of them. Big deal, they deserved it after two isappointing displays. So we welcome back the Cagliari's, Crotone's and Spezia's of Italy and the Mainz, Zürich and Astana strongholds of Europe.

You know I feel most sorry for? Francesco Totti. What a way to start his last season in Rome. He deserved a better sending-off , amongst the greatest teams like Barcelona, Bayern, Arsenal and PSG. Messi, Ronaldo, Özil, Neuer, Iniesta or Aguero who came to visit the Olimpico to honor Il Capitano. Or a reunion with Ranieri if his Leicester was drawn in the same group as the Giallorossi. Now perhaps a bunch of East-European kids nobody has ever heared of.

Thanks, Pallotta and co. I hope you're all red with shame after what happened on Tuesday.