31 years since Roma’s last European final. 14 years since the club’s last trophy. In 1961 the Giallorossi won their one and only European title: the forgotten Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. José Mourinho can be the first manager to win the Champions League, Europa League, AND Conference League. And perhaps a little bit of extra money to play with for Pinto next summer. Nuff said. I think there’s enough at stake vs Feyenoord so I’ll keep it short and sweet.
This. Is. A. Must. Win. Period. One game, one chance. Do or die. Whether they’ll play like vintage 2015 Barcelona or score an ugly 1-0 in the 93rd minute. Who cares? Hell, even after penalties, why not? Keep it Roma-esque. They were will be drama. Lots of it. José will go crazy on the sideline. Mancini will get a card, no doubt about it. Ancelotti and Ranieri will be cheering somewhere. Totti and De Rossi will be crying. The Chiesa will have a meltdown. I will run naked around the house with only my Roma scarf (oh, hello neighbor!).
This Wednesday evening, everyone who loves, adores, follows, or sympathizes with AS Roma will be rooting for Mourinho and company. Because this club deserves it. The city deserves it. The players deserve it. We, the fans, deserve it. Desperately. We need to turn into winners and this is the first step.
Mourinho knows this. After only one season he already understands the fan base, their passion, hunger, and hopes for glory. We aren’t Inter, Juve, or Milan, but since 2008, we've seen Napoli and Lazio lift three Coppa Italias each, while the likes of Villareal, Shaktar, and Frankfurt have won European trophies. Those are not better teams than Roma. So yeah, it stings, not winning a single damn thing in 14 years.
Mourinho has plenty of experience on this stage. He has won international trophies at Porto, Inter, and Manchester United. If there’s one man fit for the job, it’s him—someone that understands the importance of it all. Not only concerning the present but also future of this club and everyone involved. Roma is in good hands but in the end, it’s Abraham, Pellegrini, Rui, and co. who must put the cherry on the cake.
Especially for Pellegrini, a born and bred Roman and captain of the side, this is a unique moment. To follow in the footsteps of his idols Totti and De Rossi to win silverware with his childhood team. And actually do better than Francesco or Daniele on the European stage. Although we also have to take this with a grain of salt: Roma didn’t exactly eliminate Bayern, Liverpool, PSG, or Real in this competition.
CSKA Sofia, Bodo/Glimt, Vitesse, Luhansk, Leicester—this isn’t the top tier of Europe we faced on the road to the final. More like the Serie C of Europe. But, and Mourinho will agree on this, it’s a final nonetheless and a chance to win actual silverware. There are no excuses.
Did you see the crazy Frankfurt celebrations recently, when Eintracht won the Europa League? Well, Rome will probably be the same insane nuthouse when Roma succeeds. Good old times like the Circo Massimo in 2001. How cool would that be?
It”s time to put this to bed. To bring it home. It all started in Trabzonspor nine months ago. And it ends in Tirana. 90 minutes. Or maybe more. One goal. One cup. Get out there, run like a madman and bring that Conference League back to the Peninsula where it belongs.
Do it for Roma. For the red, for the yellow. For Bren. For Steven. For Jimmy. For Chris. For Dhaw. For Sam. For all of us.
I want to end with a famous quote from Sir Sean Connery in The Rock:
“Losers always whine about their best. Winners go home and f*$& the prom queen.”
Guess what? After 31 years we’re finally back. And we’re taking that prom queen.