While our tears after Daniele’s goodbye have dried up (sort of), let’s just take a moment to appreciate the fact that Diego Perotti was there so save the day in both Totti AND De Rossi’s farewell matches.
Two years ago, May 2017. That other club legend, you know, Francesco Totti, played his final game for Roma and that also happened at the Stadio Olimpico. Against Genoa, the Giallorossi quickly conceded the 0-1 but Dzeko equalised after ten minutes. After 80 minutes, the score was tied 2-2. Surely this wasn’t happening? Totti potentially drawing (or worse, losing) his final game in the giallo e rosso colors, the colors he loved so much. In front of his own fans. No way. We can’t let this happen.
Although Roma-Genoa wasn’t really important concerning Serie A standings (Genoa was safe from relegation while Roma was already qualified for CL), this was a matter of honor, respect, admiration and acclaim for perhaps AS Roma’s best player ever. It was far more important than Serie A or Game of Thrones or the universe. This was it. Totti’s last moments on the pitch. You better win to make this sad day a little less bitter.
Luckily a certain Diego Perotti, who was subbed on for SES after 70 minutes, understood the importance of it all. In the 90th minute he scored with a beautiful volley thanks to a smart Dzeko header, celebrating shirtless in front of the Curva Sud and making sure Totti’s farewell happened with a big bang. Still, the mixed feelings of his retirement remained.
However, if Perotti wasn’t there in the right place at the right time, the game would have ended 2-2 and it would have been a lot less memorable then it is now for us, fans. Grazie, Diego!
Now, fast forward two years, almost on the same day. Daniele De Rossi, who enjoys almost the same mythical status as Francesco, ends his Roman career with a home game against Parma. Quite symbolic, Roma-Parma was also the game in which the Giallorossi celebrated their third and last Scudetto, all the way back in 2001.
This time Perotti started from the first minute. Again, the score was even after 89 minutes, 1-1. Fans feared De Rossi wouldn’t receive the same parting gift as Totti. But once again Perotti to the rescue! Diego made sure the three points stayed in Rome thanks to a late goal, a well-timed header leaving Parma’s keeper stranded (well, maybe he too understood the importance of this game and didn’t give 100% to be fair). Anyway, Perotti knew he had done it again and immediately went to Roma’s bench, to Dani, for a big hug.
Just like in 2017, the stakes weren’t that high anymore. Genoa was safe, Roma was already sure of EL qualification unless a downright miracle happened and three other results (Milan, Atalanta, Inter) would go their way in the hunt for CL. But just like in 2017, this was not about CL or EL. Or Ranieri or Pallotta. No, this was about De Rossi, a Roman legend. And we had to honor him in the best way possible. With one last win for AS Roma, the club he loves since childhood. So grazie ancora, Diego!
Perotti was once more in the right place at the right time to grab the three points. If you look closely at both goals, he was almost in the same spot. As if by some magical power he was pulled to the exact location twice in a row to finish the job in the name of the Holy Trinity: God, Francesco e Daniele.
Don’t get me wrong, those two games will always be about Totti and De Rossi, rightfully so. But the master of ceremony those evenings was Diego Almeira Perotti.
Now let’s hope when Florenzi retires in 2027, Perotti is still here to complete his hat-trick.