I feel that there’s an hiatus in Church. And we need to address this as soon as possible. Like, right now! In all these years a lot of ink and words have been devoted to Daniele De Rossi: capitano futuro and massive fan favorite. Rightfully so. The heir of Francesco Totti, the man who would always be the first to gather the troops and lead the armies. A bandiera. A true leader on and off the pitch. Few people understand just how important it is to wear the Roma colors, but Dani does. He’s a bit crazy in the coconut yes, but hell, that’s why we all love Dani.
But behind every strong man there’s a
stronger woman, errrr stronger man. You see, there’s another De Rossi in this club, who enjoyed much less limelight, praise and attention than Daniele. But boy, his work at and dedication for AS Roma is enormous to stay the least and he’s perhaps as successful as Dani. Alberto De Rossi, Daniele’s father, has been at Roma for a staggering 24 seasons, in all various youth teams of the Giallorossi. He’s a true icon of the youth academy. Yet it’s only with the Primavera, the last stop and most challenging one for a young kid, where he left his mark.
The now 60-year-old De Rossi has guided Roma’s Primavera to three Scudetti, two Coppe Italia and two Supercoppe since 2003 and recently surpassed the benchmark of 600 games as a coach of the Primavera Wow. Just, ... wow. Our very own Ferguson if you’d like. Best news of today: Alberto’s going nowhere anytime soon as the club prolonged his contract with another two seasons.
Especially the last two seasons have been a hit, with three major prizes since 2016. I know that the Primavera championship and cup competitions are less intimidating or prestigious than the real deal (Serie A), but nonetheless it’s a damn great achievement. And it goes in both ways. Yes, coaching a Primavera side may be less intense, stressful or difficult for a coach than the first team, but then again, in all those years Alberto had no superstar like Batistuta, Totti, Alisson, Nainggolan or Dzeko to save his ass.
These are only kids (U-19) and who love to play football and have lots of dreams. He works with raw talents and tries to prep them for the big job. They need to keep their feet on the ground and work hard with perhaps just 10% chance of playing alongside the big boys. Their football passion is pure and honest, it doesn’t involve around money or huge wages. They just want to play on a grass field, win games and have fun, simple as that.
Sadly, in some cases these kids wind up in a lower division. In some cases they reach Serie A, albeit for a weaker team ala Crotone, SPAL or Chievo. The last group is the most satisfying one. The special cases who make the first team and even captain the side: Alessandro Florenzi. Other names worth mentioning and who blossomed under Alberto were Pellegrini, Alessio Romagnoli, Cerci and Bertolacci. This season Antonucci already made his professional debut while others were called up by EDF to sit on the bench, like Valeau, Capradossi or Riccardi.
Pessimists could say that too few talents have made the step up since 2003, and Florenzi and Pellegrini are currently the only ‘real’ additions in the squad. Dani de Rossi doesn’t count because he was already a regular member of the first team by 2003. However, a lot depends on the trainer and management as well. A trainer has to dare to drop some young guns into the battle. Also, Roma’s management has bought a lot of foreign talent lately, which in a way blocked our own ‘Italian’ Primavera. Think of Lamela, Bojan, Paredes, Marquinhos, Mendez, Iturbe, Svedkauskas, Sanabria and Ponce.
Spalletti’s ignorance to rotate or use Primavera prodigies is well-known. That’s why Di Francesco’s a nice wind of change. He actually gives a damn about the Primavera and won’t hesitate to fill up the squad with some kids. He and Monchi have the same vision about Roma’s future (hint: it involves youth and monaaaay), so let’s hope more Primavera products are involved then in the past seasons.
Alberto’s current class apparently has some exciting talents like Ciavattini, Keba and Riccardi so hopefully we won’t have to wait long to behold Alberto’s next diamond. He’s doing a great job so far and that’s why I am most pleased about his renewal.
After all these revolving doors, coaches in and out, presidents and directors that come and go, at least one man kept his job. The right man. And it is perhaps one of the most important jobs of AS Roma. Here’s to hoping De Rossi stays 24 more seasons.
But first, Alberto, how about that next Florenzi ey?