To call the start of Daniele De Rossi’s season tumultuous would be a massive understatement. Between the straight red card in the 39th minute of Roma’s all-important second leg against Porto in the Champions League Playoffs and the subsequent stripping of the captain’s armband, it’s been a frustrating couple of weeks for DDR. Well, get ready to throw another log on that fire.
After limping off the pitch Thursday evening in Italy’s friendly against France, De Rossi learned today that he will face a brief spell on the sidelines.
Today Daniele De Rossi underwent instrumental exams that confirmed a direct trauma with a muscular and sub-cutaneous ematoma [sic] in the region of the gastrocnemius muscle in his left leg reads the statement...The midfielder was forced to step off the pitch in the Nazionale's friendly against France on Thursday night, after an impact with an opponent...De Rossi will continue the individual protocol he's been scheduled and his conditions will be evaluated day by day.
For those of you who don’t have a Physician's Desk Reference manual available, here’s what happened: De Rossi bruised his left calf rather badly, so bad that he may be out for three weeks. While we’ll never discount De Rossi, this is the latest in a line of calf and thigh problems he’s suffered over the past two years, the most recent of which, a calf injury from last spring, forced him to miss four matches. Given his relentless style, these are the sort of injuries we thought might start to take their toll on De Rossi, so let’s hope this is just another minor blip rather than a sign of things to come.
In his stead, look for Lovely Leandro Paredes to earn the majority of the midfield minutes, but might that midfield take on a different form?
Due to De Rossi’s injury, not to mention his three-match Europa League ban, Luciano Spalletti has reportedly experimented with a 4-2-3-1 midfield, with Paredes and Kevin Strootman operating as the double pivot between the defense and the trio of Radja Nainggolan, Mohamed Salah and Stephan El Shaarawy. Quite honestly, this is something with which Spalletti should have experimented anyway, as it allows him to get all of Roma’s top attackers on the pitch at once, so this could be a blessing in disguise.
But back to the point at hand, De Rossi. Given the lack of depth in midfield, DDRs fitness weighs heavier than ever before, particularly as they have no nominal backup defensive midfielder. Roma has no other choice but to rely on him for another 20+ starts this season.
In the broader and not necessarily connected sense, this is the final year of De Rossi’s contract, and between the injuries, the sometimes inconsistent play and the captaincy controversy, we might be looking at another horrible Totti-like contract extension melodrama this spring.
In the meantime, however, this is a GIGANTIC opportunity for Paredes. With a potential three week run of uninterrupted play, he can really cement his place in the rotation and finally put those transfer rumors to rest.