Next to transfer rumors and, you know, actual match coverage, one of our favorite topics to cover here is the unique relationship between AS Roma, the fans, and the city itself. Never is the uniqueness of that relationship more evident than when we're talking about one of the local boy (or girls, remember, the ladies team features eight local players). While I'm sure there are Londoners playing for Chelsea or Spurs, Bavarian boys playing for Bayern Munich, or native Parisians featuring for PSG, that bond isn't quite as strong as the one forged in the Eternal City.
Whether it's due to the sheer age and history of the city, or more likely because Roma can't buy titles like some of those other clubs, the relationship between the Romans in the stands and the Romans on the pitch is sacrosanct. As we always say, you don't know why the city of their birth matters, you just know that it does...a lot.
While Francesco Totti was and forever will be the epitome of that relationship, the men who followed most immediately in his footsteps, Daniele De Rossi and Alessandro Florenzi, have done Totti and the whole of Rome incredibly proud. From scoring outrageous goals to making game changing tackles to practically tearing down a goal while celebrating a teammates accomplishment to literally running in the stands to celebrate with their nonnas, Danielino and Ale have embodied that love and that spirit, that Roma essence, as much as any Roman to wear the colors of the Eternal City.
And as we discussed last year, that lineage, should things go according to plan, could carry on for another 20 years. With Lorenzo Pellegrin and Luca Pellegrini, Romans each, returning to the fold and/or finally making their first team debut, AS Roma's local flavor shows no signs of abating.
However, given the financial state of the club, when word of Lorenzo's buyout clause, and Manchester United's reported interest in triggering it, spread, we all got a bit worried. Yeah, Lorenzo is Roman and all, but this is United we're talking about; could he, or the club for that matter, really resist?
Heightening that anxiety was simply the fact that Pellegrini hadn't spoken on the issue. And while he didn't address those transfer rumors, Pellegrini did open up about his role as a Roman playing for his boyhood club.
Speaking to DAZN, Pellegrini shed a bit of light on what it's like to play for the team he's adored his entire life.
I will never get tired of saying it: playing here, for a boy born in Rome, is something that gives me both great pride and a feeling of responsibility.
When you go out there on the pitch it is like you are also representing your entire family, who all grew up wearing these colours
One day I would love to become Roma captain, especially for what it would mean to my family too. It would be an honour to represent Rome and Roma, its fans and all my family and friends and the people I love. It would be a huge responsibility – but I like responsibility.
For a fan base forever fearful of losing our best players, particularly the Romans, those words are music to our ears. The official site has the rest of the interview (linked above), in which Pellegrini speaks about his debut, his relationship with Totti and even some heart issues he had as a child.
Pellegrini arrived in Rome during quite a tumultuous time—Champions League semifinals, major sales, a dozen new purchases and even a brief stint in tenth place—but one thing is for sure, if and when Roma finally emerges from this haze, Pellegrini will be at the head of the pack.