You know you're a Roma fan when hearing your now €50 million rated teenager utter the words “my objective is to stay at Roma forever” fills you with nothing but discomfort. But that's life as a Roma fan; nothing is real until it is. And now that Nicolo Zaniolo is the hottest thing on the market since avocado toast, with everyone from Juventus to Bayern Munich to PSG weighing up moves, Roma fans beleaguered from years of empty promises can't seem to find solace in Zaniolo's oath of fealty.
Speaking to an Italian TV show called Le Iene, Zaniolo played down comparisons to Francesco Totti and discussed his future at Roma and his mom's, um, social media "popularity".
.@nicdedevitiis ha incontrato il “nuovo Totti” della Roma Nicolò Zaniolo e la sua mamma social. Non perdetevi il servizio domenica sera dalle 21.10 su Italia1 https://t.co/tbVYNoWy9b pic.twitter.com/MJB5j9pUpF— Le Iene (@redazioneiene) February 16, 2019
Not being familiar with this show, I can't quite say if this "interview” was as haphazard as it seems, or if conveniently catching him in his car was part of the shtick. Either way, this interview, which was teased for nearly 24 hours, is all of one minute long, half of which is dedicated to his mother's social media predilections.
Quick though it was, Zaniolo downplayed those Totti comparisons, but did admit he'd like to be a Roma lifer like Totti, which is great, but in the Roma part of your brain you no doubt noticed the mention of Alessandro Del Piero, who was also a bandiera for Juventus, the rumored team of Zaniolo's youth.
While I'm probably being a bit too pedantic, this interview did prove one thing definitively: Zaniolo may be The Kid, but he is also a kid. From his fresh face to the fact that his mother literally has to drive him to and from practice, Zaniolo's true age was never more apparent than in this interview. He may play like a man, but his life off the pitch is as adolescent as it comes, right down to the basta he hurls at his mom as she prattles on about herself—I couldn't identify with this kid any more.
Football is an ugly business, especially when sales are involved. And as Roma fans we've seen players who bleed for the crest sold against their will just as often as we've seen the club acquiesce to a player's demands.
So when Zaniolo says he wants to stay at Roma, I don't doubt his sincerity, but decades of following this team and this sport have shown the true weight of words.
Except for once...and that guy was pretty special.