José Mourinho has yet to set foot in the Eternal City but his appointment as Roma's next manager has dominated the news cycle for the past 10 days. From the sheer volume of stories to the heated debates on the merits of his selection to the rampant transfer speculation to getting his own mural, gelato flavor, and microbrew, The Special One has brought a level of attention to Roma the club hasn't seen in decades.
The Mourinho Effect has been so sweeping we've completely glossed over two important facts: Roma is still fighting for a place in next season's inaugural UEFA Conference League and Euro 2020, which was postponed last summer due to the pandemic, is set to kick off in less than a month!
While we can debate the merits of a third-tier European club competition, there's no doubting the importance of the European Championships, which is arguably the second-best international tournament after the World Cup.
Roma will likely send multiple players to the Azzurri camp this summer, including Roma captain Lorenzo Pellegrini, defender Gianluca Mancini and left wing-back, Leonardo Spinazzola, while Cengiz Ünder (Turkey) and Jordan Veretout (France) have outside shots at making the cut for Euro 2020. While it's always an honor to represent one's country in international competition, those selections (when they're announced in a few weeks) aren't really that shocking.
This is shocking...
Barely a year after his career was effectively on ice, Rick Karsdorp's 2020-2021 renaissance seems poised to carry on into the summer. Karsdorp, Roma's 26-year-old full-back, has been named to the Netherlands’ provisional roster for Euro 2020, which is set to begin Friday, June 11th when Italy and Turkey square off at the Stadio Olimpico in Roma.
With a series of knee injuries effectively scrubbing the past three years of his career from existence, reaching a low point last year when he was loaned back to Feyenoord (and played little more than 1,000 minutes) Karsdorp returned to Roma last summer with his hat in hand and was given one final lifeline by Paulo Fonseca.
And after a string of impressive performances in Roma's pre-season schedule, Karsdorp not only earned his place in Rome, he took total and complete control of Roma's right-back position, setting career highs in appearances, starts and minutes played. While he's had a few ups and downs this year, Karsdorp has been critical to whatever success the Giallorossi managed this season, scoring one goal and providing six assists through 32 league appearances.
For his efforts, Karsdorp was given perhaps the most surprising contract extension in recent memory, inking a new deal with Roma in March, one that will keep him in the capital through 2025.
Karsdorp has one more hurdle to clear before he makes the Netherlands’ final roster for Euro 2020, but representing his country this summer would be the cherry on top of his comeback story, one that feels like it was torn straight from the pages of a classic Disney script.
Keep your fingers crossed that Karsdorp makes the cut and look for our Euro 2020 coverage starting in early June!