Roma’s academy has always been well-known throughout Europe for producing more than its fair share of excellent talents over the years. There are the obvious ones, like Francesco Totti, Daniele De Rossi, Lorenzo Pellegrini, and Alessandro Florenzi; the deeper cuts, like Andrea Bertolacci, Gianluca Scamacca, and Alessio Romagnoli; and the soon-to-become #1 hits on the charts, like Edoardo Bove, Nicola Zalewski, and hopefully the subject of this article: Cristian Volpato.
Volpato has been with the Roma academy system since 2020, where he quickly slotted into the U-17 and Primavera sides. His first senior squad appearance came in 2021 against Inter Milan, and his first goal for the senior side came in February 2022 in a 2-2 draw with Hellas Verona. His biggest claim to fame outside of bossing the Primavera side is the fact that he’s signed to Francesco Totti’s agency and has been touted by none other than Totti himself as the next big star for the Giallorossi.
While it remains to be seen whether or not Volpato can fill that role, he’s been quite impressive in his appearances for the senior squad to date. Those impressive appearances have caught the eye of more than Francesco Totti, apparently, as Tiago Pinto has decided to latch on to Volpato now instead of worrying about renewals later:
Cristian Volpato has signed a new contract with the club that runs until 2026! #ASRoma— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) September 30, 2022
This extension lines up with the Giallorossi’s overall attitude regarding youth prospects in recent years. Instead of hoping for young international signings to quickly break into the senior squad, Tiago Pinto has focused on giving academy players the chance to shine. This has paid dividends most directly with the transformation of Nicola Zalewski into a first-team player, but there’s no doubt that given Roma’s ambitions and (relative) lack of finances, Roma both should and must find space for any exciting players who might be making their way through the youth setup.
Volpato is certainly one of, if not the, most exciting young attacking talents the Giallorossi have on the books at the moment. To have gotten his first senior squad appearance before turning 18 is a statement, and his continued receiving of chances at the senior level indicates that both José Mourinho and the larger Roman apparatus believe in his ability to become an important player for the club sooner rather than later. Expect Volpato to play a role in the Giallorossi’s Europa League challenge this season and maybe even their Serie A campaign. Who knows, maybe he’s the next player to follow in Pellegrini’s, De Rossi’s, and Totti’s footsteps.
Here’s what Volpato had to say after signing his new contract:
“I am very happy to have signed with Roma, it is something very important for my career going forward. I am looking forward to living my future here in Rome and continuing to grow and work hard with the team,” the former Primavera player said.
“Despite having come all the way from Australia, Roma helped me to settle in very quickly, to grow and be ready for the first team.”
“Being able to work with a manager like Mourinho is a dream come true, so I try not to waste time and keep learning as much as possible from him.”
“Matic has helped me the most so far. He’s like an older brother to me. He gives me a lot of advice on and off the pitch.”
“My ambition? To be part of Roma’s starting eleven for as long as possible.”
And here’s the full press release from the club, including quotes from General Manager Tiago Pinto:
AS Roma are delighted to confirm that Cristian Volpato has signed a contract extension with the club.
Volpato, 18, has put pen-to-paper on a new long-term deal that runs until 30 June 2026.
“Cristian is a young player blessed with great talent, who has everything required to become an important player for the club,” said Tiago Pinto, the club’s General Manager.
“With this contract extension he has shown that he believes in the project we have in place here, and we are all convinced that he will be able to continue his development in the best possible manner.”
Volpato initially joined the Giallorossi’s youth setup in January 2020, signing his first professional contract with the club soon after.
The Australian-born attacker represented Italy at this summer’s Under-19 European Championship, before being called up for the Under-20 squad during the most recent international break.