Player sales are a regular occurrence, especially for a club like Roma. Through the years, especially in recent seasons, we have seen the Giallorossi bid adieu to many of the game’s promising talents. From Marquinhos heading to PSG, to Mehdi Benatia going to Bayern, Miralem Pjanic pulling on the Bianconero of Juve, and Mohamed Salah and Alisson being offloaded to Liverpool. It’s become a part of life for Giallorossi fans with Financial Fair Play regulations necessitating the club doesn’t fall too far into the red.
Every year Romanisti sweat out the dog days of summer, wondering who will be next. Last summer, Stephan El Shaaraway and Luca Pellegrini were sent away to balance the books. Immediately after those sales, we began to debate who would be the next sacrificial lamb to the FFP gods. ( Cengiz Ünder was the readers’ early favorite.)
However, as much as we’ve come to accept Roma’s current plight, the hope remains that things will change with the eventual ownership change. Romanisti yearn for the opportunity to build a formidable squad, one centered around a talisman à la Francesco Totti.
That dream centers around one young man. The next great hope for Roma and Italy: Nicolò Zaniolo. The 20-year-old appears to be a generational talent, one that has Roma fans already imaging what the future holds. But the lingering doubt that Roma could offload him to the highest bidder sooner rather than later remains in-tact.
Well, if the player’s word means anything, then we can all breathe a sigh of relief; at least for the time being. Yesterday, Il Messeggero (via Football Italia) interviewed Zaniolo, who had encouraging words for the club and its fans about his future. Zaniolo expressed his desire to stick around for some time.
“Roma mean everything to me, they have given me indescribable emotions starting with my debut at the Santiago Bernabeu,” he told Il Messaggero. “They made me celebrate, to play at the Olimpico and feel the love from the fans.
“So, I don’t see why it has to change and I hope to stay for many years to come.”
Zaniolo’s words seem to show an attachment to the club, which will be invaluable if Roma do plan on building around him long term. Like we’ve said on this site numerous times, generational talents don’t walk through Trigoria’s doors on a regular basis (especially ones that have the desire for a long term future in the Italian Capital). That’s what made Totti and De Rossi so special.
Alisson fit the bill talent-wise, but his future always rested elsewhere. Zaniolo seems to be different, at least in the way he talks about Roma. If his words are sincere, and there’s no reason to think they’re not, then Friedkin and company will be wise to do whatever it takes to keep him around long term.
In another bit of encouraging news, Zaniolo spoke about his recovery from ACL surgery. It seems like he’s in good spirits after a couple of difficult weeks. The knee is also responding well.
“The knee injury was a bad blow. I only managed to get over it after the first two or three weeks, which were very tough.
“My character has never changed, and I have always been smiling and remained happy. Every day I set myself goals to achieve and overcome. The knee responds well, I hope I can return to the pitch and be even stronger than I was before.”
To close out the interview, Zaniolo spoke about a more lighthearted topic. He expressed how proud he was to see the child in Milan wearing his jersey in a photo that has become iconic as we all look forward to a return to normalcy.
“That photo fully reflected the passion that has been cultivated since childhood. I am proud that he wore my shirt and makes me understand that I must continue like this to remain in the hearts of even the youngest fans. If I had him in front of me, I would certainly bring him with me to Trigoria to show him how we train. It would be a small gesture, but I think he would be very happy. “
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Questa foto mi ha colpito davvero molto! Non so chi sei, ma che orgoglio vederti con la mia maglia! So che adesso è difficile e strano giocare a calcio da soli in una città vuota, ma resistiamo ancora un po' e, quando sarà tutto finito, so che me ne manderai una in cui giochi con altri ragazzi! (Magari esultando per un gol ❤) Ti aspetto a trigoria ❤️ Grazie @corriere per lo splendido scatto