May 24. 2008. That was the day AS Roma won the Coppa Italia final against Roberto Mancini’s Inter. Right now it’s May 16, 2018 and that Coppa in 2008 is still Roma’s last trophy to date. It has been ten years. Ten long years.
And it looks like the drought will continue for at least one more year because Juve has won the Scudetto once again and Liverpool knocked out the Giallorossi (not that convincingly though) in the Champions League. The perhaps ‘easiest’ trophy off all, the Coppa Italia, was won by Juve (yes, them again) last week. Roma? They were already knocked out in December by Torino.
Zero trophies in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018. I dunno why I wrote that out, I just wanted to make you guys feel bad I guess. Including myself. It seems like a long time and it surely is in football. Something is/was not working since 2008. Just look at all the presidents, managers, directors, sponsors, trainers, staff and most of all players Roma has used in that period. Hundreds of men, unable to get one damn trophy to Rome.
Well, the red side of Roma anyway. Lazio won two Coppe Italia (2009 and 2013, you know, the derby final) since Roma’s last one so even though AS Roma can brag with better head-to-head results in the league since 2008, Lazio have enlarged their trophy cabinet by two pieces while ours remained the same. And you know what counts in the end, no? Who cares if we lost a derby in 2009 with 4-2, as long as you got your name on the Hall of Fame so people remember your name... Hey, that rhymed!
But not only Lazio. Other big clubs in Italy have also won more cups, titles or even European trophies than Roma, which is quite sickening. Juve? Well yeah, a gazillion Scudetti and Coppe, three Supercoppe and two CL finals for example. But ok, it’s Juve, the most powerful club in Serie A. I can live with that.
But c’mon, Inter and Milan? Two clubs who are now struggling to keep up with us and barely play Champions League anymore? Inter were the boss during the Calciopoli scandal and even won the treble under Mourinho in 2010 but then declined rapidly: They only won one Coppa Italia since then. Max Allegri guided Milan to the 2011 Scudetto and also got two more Supercoppe, the latest in 2016.
Who’s left? Napoli, who have only returned to Serie A in 2007 and are waiting for a first league win since 1990? Two Coppe Italia and a Supercoppa. Ok, so a Coppa or Supercoppa isn’t the most flashy or prestigious thing in the world, but it’s something, right? It’s better than nothing. And ten years without a single thing is a long and damn painful time. Everyone else got to share a bit of the birthday cake, bar Roma. Boo hoo.
Some might say a CL semi-final (or even playing the CL group stages) is more valuable for the club than a Coppa Italia every now and then. It brings more money in and you get to play alongside Europe’s finest and not Juve, Sampdoria or Spezia for the umpteenth time.
True, but ask yourself this: After a drought of ten years, how much do you crave for a trophy? Some fans don’t care about it and love Roma for exactly this reason: They are underdogs, always have and always will and rarely win anything. Hey that’s fine, but don’t tell me there’s not even 1% in your body that looks at Juve or Napoli and is not jealous or angry. That you want to see De Rossi and Florenzi to lift that cup at the Circo Massimo in the midst of thousands of ecstatic tifosi. Just this once. Football is a sport and everyone wants to be the winner. It’s normal.
Look, I don’t want Roma to transform in PSG, Bayern, Barcelona or Juve, who are accustomed to winning practically everything in their country. Then you lose the magic feeling that comes with it as a fan. But at least one Coppa or Scudetto since 2008 would have been nice, no? It surely wouldn’t hurt our reputation in Europe.
Players like Florenzi, De Rossi, Manolas, Strootman, Radja or even a now retired Totti, they all deserved it so much for all their hard work and effort each single year. You gotta feel sorry for them. Ten years is nothing to sneeze at, especially for a footballer who’s professional career lasts about 15-18 years.
They were close to it a couple of times though, like the Coppa finals in 2010 or 2013. Or Serie A in 2010. Or who knows, if Di Francesco had come up with a better plan in Liverpool, Roma would be CL finalists right now and in one game anything can happen. I guess it was meant to be.
The players that represented AS Roma in 2008 were no household names like Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar or Salah, but still more than decent. Here’s the starting lineup from Spalletti, in his favorite 4-2-3-1 formation:
Doni; Cassetti, Juan, Mexes, Tonetto; De Rossi, Pizarro; Giuly (21’st Cicinho), Aquilani (45’st Panucci), Perrotta (27’st Brighi); Vucinic.
In panchina: Curci, Antunes, Esposito, Mancini
Those were the days, ey? I see some damn fine names in there while Inter Milan got renowned guys like Stankovic, Crespo, Toldo, Vieira, Maicon, Zanetti and Chivu. Goals from Perrotta and Mexes pulled Roma through.
Spalletti’s tactics were tailor-made for these guys but it’s not like Alisson, Radja, Fazio, Strootman, Dzeko, Florenzi or Kolarov are worse than them. Hell, last season we even broke our record point total in Serie A, that says something.
We just need that little extra. That final push. That combative spirit that thrives Juve nowadays or Inter between 2006-2010. The belief that they can actually win the goddamn thing and no team will stand in their way, not to be confused with arrogance. Two or three masterful moves from Monchi in the Summer Mercato could be all it takes for the pieces to fall into place.
Now players already speak out the world ‘Scudetto’ in September before falling flat on their faces. Enough. Got your head out of your ass, work hard and give 200% each week. Then results will follow and after December we will talk again. By March/April you could get cocky in interviews and truly make a statement. Then you can be arrogant if you want. Because you have every right to do so.
But here in Rome we’re always dramatic. After a win we’re Scudetto contenders, after a loss we’ll miss Europe and we need sell our most prized assets. It takes time to build something special and the wait can be frustrating. But I truly believe we’re on the right track now.
The team’s clicking, Monchi is already making plans for this Summer and for EDF this season was a tough test which he passed. The Barcelona miracle was a highlight, but it was followed by another misstep by Eusebio in Liverpool. Eventually he’ll learn from his mistakes and so will the players.
Will the wait finally be over in 2019? There’s still a long way to go, 2018 isn’t even halfway yet. We survived ten years so eleven or twelve won’t make the difference.
One thing is certain: The longer the wait, the sweeter victory will taste.