Goalkeeper is perhaps the most unfair position in all of football. Sure, you get you use your hands, but in exchange for that you're forced to wear ugly (and often neon) shirts, while the measure of your success can often come down to a single shot/save. It's an unjust existence, but that's the nature of the game. And from 2015 through 2018, Roma had the great fortune of employing Wojciech Szczesny and Alisson Becker between the sticks.
Where Woj was solid and dependable, Alisson was other-worldly and quite often miraculous. It was a whirlwind three-year period in the capital—Roma ripped through three different managers, climbed as high as second place in the league, set a club record for points and goals and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League—but through it all those two men forever altered our expectations for goalkeepers.
And ever since Alisson was sold to Liverpool in the summer of 2018, it's been all down hill for Roma between the sticks. From Robin Olsen's disastrous stint in 2018-2019 to Pau Lopez's uneven first year in Rome, it's starting to feel like we'll forever be chasing that Alisson high, or at the very least some basic competence in goal.
This next kid, our ninth rated U-23 prospect, could fall anywhere on that spectrum but he's a titillating prospect all the same.
Number Nine: Daniel Fuzato
2020 Club: Gil Vicente (Portugal), season long loan
Future Comparison: Dollar Store Alisson Becker
Who Is He?
Usually this section is just a brief bio about a player's path to Roma, but with only one appearance under his belt, this is an incredibly important question—we have no idea who Daniel Fuzato is. And it's a mystery that dates back even further than his debut against Juventus earlier this summer.
Usually when you pluck a kid from a club in South America, you have a lot of film to go on from their domestic leagues, but that wasn't the case with Fuzato, who never even made a senior-level appearance for his prior club Palmeiras. Despite all of that, Roma saw fit to hand over €500,000 for a kid who was essentially Palmeiras’ fourth-choice keeper. I wouldn't even call that a gamble—gambling at least has some logic to it—this was just complete blind faith from Monchi.
Standing roughly 6’2”, Fuzato isn't a towering figure between the sticks, but, based on what we saw against Juventus and during his Primavera appearances, he more than makes up for that with speed, aggression and quick reflexes.
Fuzato will spend the upcoming season in the Portuguese league with Gil Vicente.
What Can He Do?
That clip is a couple of years old at this point, but it shows precisely what makes (or can make) Fuzato so special—the dude is athletic. Whether he's going parallel to the ground in the blink of an eye to snatch a shot out of the air or charging off his line like a puma, Fuzato possesses exceptional agility, reflexes and speed for a goalkeeper of any size.
What Can He Become?
Well, we're about to find out, especially if he hits the ground running with Gil Vicente this season. At only 23-years-old, Fuzato is a baby by keeper's standards, but you couldn't ask for a better foundation on which to build. You can coach up the finer points of goalkeeping, but no amount of instruction can make you more athletic, so all Fuzato is really missing is experience.
Given his almost utter lack of playing time, it's difficult to forecast what he might become. Roma had another young, über athletic keeper several years ago that people were high on—Lukasz Skorupski. While he's been steadily employed since leaving Roma, he hasn't exactly made the most of his athletic gifts, which goes to show that physical tools alone don't make a great keeper.
Spending the season in a lower pressure environment (lower than Roma at least), one where he'll be able to use his native tongue, should hopefully prove fertile ground for Fuzato. If he puts in the work and wins the starter's job with Gil Vicente and returns to Roma next summer sharper and more experienced, then all bets may be off and he could emerge as Roma's starting keeper in 2021.