How many among us are doing exactly what we set out to do with our lives? Chances are you made some compromises along the way, or took a chance and found that it didn't quite live up to your expectations, but that's life. You gotta find some shred of enjoyment in your work or anxiety and depression will swallow you whole.
I'm not here to start a pity part for Alessandro Florenzi who is, after all, a young and incredibly wealthy professional athlete; one who plays a child's game for millions in compensation. Still, for all the flack he's caught over the years, Florenzi never set out to be a right back; it was foisted upon him in the winter of 2015.
And through it all—the changes in managers, brief cameos back in midfield and forward, fans calling for his head and his string of catastrophic knee injures—Florenzi has remained the epitome of professionalism; seldom uttering a word of complaint and remaining committed to a position he was never meant to play.
And with 53% of your vote, Alessandro Florenzi narrowly edged out Maicon for our Roma Right Back of the Decade, though Marco Cassetti clocked in with a respectable six percent of all ballots cast—the power of nostalgia at work.
It's hard to believe that our beloved Ale is still only 28-years-old, but since his full season debut with Roma in 2012, Florenzi has racked up 266 appearances for his hometown club, scoring 27 goals and dishing out 29 assists in all competitions. Pretty impressive numbers when you consider how much time he's missed to injury over the years.
Ironically, his best year in the 2010s came with Crotone in the 2011-2012 season when he scored 11 goals in 35 league appearances. It may be hard to remember, but Florenzi was a pretty exciting attacking prospect when he donned the #48 shirt for Roma the following season.
Notable Achievements: That Lob
Florenzi's bicycle kick and his absolutely mad celebration against Genoa was certainly noteworthy, while his Nonna kissing goal remains one of the best things you'll ever see in sport, but you just can't top what he did against Barcelona in the Champions League on September 6, 2015.
With Roma down 1-0 thanks to an early effort from Luis Suarez, Florenzi struck back with a 50+ yard lob over the head of a helpless Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the 31st minute. It was truly an astounding goal and a good bit of intuition from Ale, who admitted he took the chance the moment he saw ter Stegen off his line. And while it wasn't quite as significant as the Manolas Miracle a few years later, Florenzi's lobbed secured a point that eventually helped Roma edge out Bayer Leverkusen to advance to the knockout stages in that year's competition.
Florenzi's effort was nominated for the Pulskas Award in 2015, but finished a distant third to Brazilian player Wendell Lira's effort in the 2015 Campeonato Goiano, which garnered over 46% of the votes that year.
Where is He Now?
The 2010s were a decade full of transitions for Alessandro Florenzi, as he started off the decade as a bright eyed attacking midfielder, the kid brother to Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi, and finishes it as the battle-tested veteran, captain of his hometown club and Azzurri mainstay.
Currently in his eighth full season with Roma, Florenzi has battled injury and inconsistencies through much of the season, but seems to have turned a corner in the past few weeks.
You can quibble with his defensive performance as a right-back, but Florenzi embodies so much of what makes this club special. And believe it or not, even if you hate on Florenzi, you will likely miss him when he's gone.
As Roma fans, we've learned to appreciate and love those little indefinable things that make this club different, and just like Totti and De Rossi before him, Florenzi personifies the romanticism that lured so many of us to this club to begin with.
Coming up next, Florenzi's opposite number on the left flank.