Riccardo Calafiori, like nearly every Roman kid with even the slightest bit of promise to set foot in Trigoria, faced enormous pressure at an incredibly early age. After signing with his hometown club at all of nine years old, Calafiori's career felt preordained: play a few years in the youth ranks, win a few trophies with Alberto De Rossi's Primavera side, and then graduate to the first team and take his place among the ranks of the club's legendary Romans.
But Calafiori's once-promising career was nearly derailed in the fall of 2018 when he ruptured multiple ligaments in his left knee during a UEFA Youth League match against Viktoria Plzen. Facing a major surgery and a year on the sidelines, Calafiori became the latest in a long ling of promising Roma prospects treading the well-worn path between Trigoria and the Villa Stuart medical center.
However, rather than accepting this new fate, Calafiori fought back valiantly, returning to the Primavera pitch in September of 2019 before receiving his first senior call up a month later. Calafiori would have to wait another year before making his actual senior debut, a 59-minute jaunt against Juventus in August 2020.
Blessed with size, speed, and technique, Calafiori quickly resumed his title as one of Roma's most-promising U-23 talents. While he flashed these skills intermittently over the past 18 months, including a whale of a goal against Young Boys in the 2020-2021 Europa League, Calafiori simply couldn't crack the rotation under either Paulo Fonseca or José Mourinho, leading many to call for a loan for the 19-year-old.
And while we expected Calafiori to head south to Sardinia to spend the second half of the season with Cagliari, earlier today Roma and the Genoa Cricket and Football Club agreed to a short-term loan for the teenaged talent:
According to the terms of the deal, Calafiori will move to Geona on a short-term loan through June 30, 2022, joining the 19th place Grifone as they fight for their Serie A lives. With no player of note standing in his way, Calafiori could see significant match time under Andriy Shevchenko, who has rotated between Mohamed Fares and Andrea Cambiaso at the left wing-back position since taking over the reins last November.
If all goes according to plan, Calafiori will return to Roma next season a year wiser, stronger, and ready to compete for minutes behind Leonardo Spinazzola.
Best of luck, Riccardo. See you in August!