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Totti Today #112: A Belgian Biting the Bullet

For every succesful Belgian, there's a disaster just around the corner...

AS Roma v AC ChievoVerona - Serie A Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Until the Summer of 2016, AS Roma and the fans really loved its Belgians. There was of course Radja who became a stud, and that other stud, JonAS, who wrote writes excellent articles at Chiesa di Totti (no sweat guys, thanks). But something has changed in the Capital since then. 'Belgium' and 'Belgians' got a slightly worse reputation. Thank you for that, Thomas...

I confess: I was a bit, if not very enthusiastic about this transfer. Wow, Thomas Vermaelen to Roma. A Barcelona player who wants to go to Rome, that was nice. And with a Belgian passport, oh look, a roommate for Radja! And to make it even better, Thomas played a great tournament in France at Euro 2016 where he shined in absence of captain Kompany. His injury crisis seemed out of the window and the former Arsenal and Ajax captain wanted to prove himself in a big league. Enter AS Roma who would give Thomas a new challenge. The second Belgian in Rome, man I was so proud.

Fast forward 6 months and the match made in heaven (in my eyes at least) has turned into a nightmare. I won't sum up all the mistakes that happened, but there was for example the red card against Porto and CL elimination, the Salah injury on training, his returning ailments and his 'comeback' against Sampdoria where we suddenly conceded three goals in one game, after 4 clean sheets in a row with the trio Fazio-Manolas-Rüdiger. Ow damn, did I just sum them all up? Well then Thomas, you have some explanation to do, no?

To be fair, the card was foolish and even Dani sees red sometimes. Accidents do happen on trainings and both Schickand Muriel were very strong that day against Roma, but you simply can't deny the bigger picture, all this happened on a very short term and there's still some hick-ups I'm forgetting right now. I can't play the devil's advocate any longer: Vermaelen is a failure and should return to Barcelona ASAP.

Truth be told, I'm not feeling bad after writing that, only relieved. It just wasn't meant to be I guess. I was one of Thomas' biggest fans when he joined the Giallorossi, now I just don't care anymore. We have better options and I even have more faith in Dani or Castan at CB than Thomas. Recently he wasn't on the team sheet because he had a hand injury. A HAND. Christ, are you a goalkeeper Thomas? No? Then saddle up then and get your sh*t together.

So far he has featured in 6 Serie A games. If the trio I mentioned earlier stays healthy, Thomas may not even reach 10. Also because the pressure now is so big on this guy, every touch, every pass, every header will be analyzed in the smallest details. It's true Thomas has to make amends with us, but will he get another chance by Luciano? Will he finally be injury-free for some time? If one of Fazio, Rüdiger or Manolas is out, maybe Spal just opts for a 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 instead of Vermaelen in a 3-4-2-1.

We all knew there was a risk by bringing in Vermaelen, but I thought it was his fragility and long list of injuries. Now it seems he is also lacking confidence. It's strange, a player with such a history and experience. Yet Rome has always been a hot environment, with a demanding fanbase. Some can take the heat, others can't. It's called reality and I just have to life with that.

So I say to you, Thomas, as one Belgian to another, I'm sorry I was a fool and believed in you. I thought you were the perfect fit. I was wrong. Have fun in Spain. And hey, say goodbye to Radja for me.