You had to either be an expert on Brazilian footballers or a closet Atalanta fan if you were excited on January 27, 2020, the day Roma signed Roger Ibañez from Gian Piero Gasperini's side. Coming to the capital on a loan with an obligation to buy, Ibañez was slow to adapt to life in Roma, garnering only 640 minutes for the Giallorossi in the second half of the 2019-2020 season. While that may not seem like much match time, it was a far cry from the 22 minutes of action he saw with Atalanta in the fall of 2019.
Fast forward a year and not only has Ibañez become an unquestioned starter for Roma, he's quickly becoming one of the most heralded young defenders in the entire league, to the point where many Roma fans were already counting down the days until he's sold to PSG or Manchester City or any European mega club.
At only 22-years-old, Ibañez has a lot of football in front of him, and moments ago the club announced a new contract for their star defender, ensuring that Ibañez will remain in the Eternal City through 2025.
Speaking to the press, Ibañez expressed his satisfaction with his new deal while also acknowledging he's still developing as a footballer:
This contract extension really means a lot to me, I’ve worked hard to try and show that I deserve to represent this club. I am aware that I need to keep on improving but there is one thing I know for sure: I will give everything I have to Roma, for the foreseeable future.
New Roma GM Tiago Pinto echoed those sentiments:
Roger is one of a number of young and talented players that the club wants to build around, both now and for the future...Since arriving in Rome he has been improving on a consistent basis, and we are confident he still has a lot more room to grow.
We are also delighted to be continuing the proud tradition of Brazilian players at Roma, who have historically enjoyed great success at the club.
While there are practically limitless ways to actually play football, when it comes to building and developing a winning roster, the best clubs often start at the back. And at only 22-years-old, Ibañez has already shown he has the physical skills to succeed as a defender in Serie A, and with a little more seasoning and experience, he can become one of the most complete center-backs in the game, ushering in the next great era of Roman football.