By now you’ve no doubt seen the footage of Daniele De Rossi slapping Gianluca Lapadula as the two jockeyed for space on a set piece. In years past, DDR’s indiscretion may have gone unnoticed, but in the era of VAR, no man is safe. De Rossi’s slap was met with a redcard from Piero Giacomelli, while Lapadula was able to beat Alisson from the spot, though Alisson did anticipate the direction of the penalty correctly.
De Rossi wasted no time in issuing an official apology after the match:
It’s a moment that I’m incredibly sorry about...There’s not much to say: we were tussling, I tried to block him with an arm – the footage is ugly.
Watching the game against Lazio again, I was a bit concerned with how we were marking [Marco] Parolo and Bastos at corners and made a note that I had to be careful… and instead it went how it went.
I have to apologise to my teammates, the coach and the fans. I am very sorry – but we will have to bounce back from this.
Kudos to De Rossi for owning up to this, but you be the judge. Does anything in that clip look like an attempt to “block him with an arm”? He’s certainly warding him off with his left forearm while pulling his jersey (a penalty in and of itself), but that open palm slap is pretty self-evident.
Eusebio Di Francesco didn’t pull any punches with De Rossi:
It’s a pity and De Rossi knows he made a mistake, especially because with the current instruments in place, you don’t get away with these things.
Genoa forced us to play at a slow tempo, as they sat back and waited to go on the counter. We did well to break the deadlock, but then paid a heavy price for that naïve error, not just because of the penalty, but also as we were down to 10 men.
It’s a shame, because we shot ourselves in the foot here. We’re improving and we are aware of that, so these are two dropped points.
De Rossi is not a kid, he takes on his share of the responsibility. We must work together to avoid these situations in future. When we play our football, we are a great team, but when we drop to the level of our opponents and get sucked into that attitude, it shouldn’t happen.
Roma has the rare Friday match against SPAL, one in which they will be without De Rossi’s services, so it will be interesting to see what, if any, lingering effect this match has on the club.