There may be no athlete in the whole of Rome with more to prove this coming season than Andrea Belotti. After signing with the Giallorossi last summer, Belotti and his 106 career Serie A goals joined a striker room that already boasted Tammy Abraham, who scored 27 goals during his first season with the club. Between Belotti and Abraham, Roma had one of the best one-two punches in the league—or so we thought.
Understandably, many fans wondered how Roma could possibly accommodate Belotti and Abraham. As the younger, brasher, and arguably better half of that tandem, Abraham reprised his role as Roma's leading man, relegating Belotti to a secondary but no less important role.
For a man whose role was seldom, if ever, under question at Torino, Belotti had to adjust to being the second choice. But for the club, who often lacked depth behind their number one striker, this was an ideal situation. If and when Abraham needed a break, Andrea Belotti, one of Italy's most productive strikers over the past decade, was waiting in the wings.
But that's not the way things played out for Roma, unfortunately. For reasons we may never fully understand, Belotti was plagued by a career-worst scoring drought, registering only four goals in all competitions, zero of which came in Serie A.
Any way you slice it, Belotti's first season with Roma was a nightmare. While there have been intermittent whispers about Il Gallo moving abroad or possibly returning to Torino, his contract with Roma, which included two bonus seasons tied to certain sporting objectives, has been officially extended through 2025.
On his return, Belotti spoke about the unique experience of playing in Rome:
"It feels amazing. When I first came to Trigoria the magnitude of this team, the Romanisti, and the city of Rome really hit me. You have to be on the inside to fully experience this. I'm so proud to be part of the club. I see this contract extension as a logical continuation of the journey which I began here a year ago."
"I think that in both good times and bad we've always stuck by each other. I'd define Roma as a family because ever since I joined the club I've seen that this sense of togetherness isn't just confined to the players – it includes the coaching staff, the physios, directors and kitmen. We're a huge family in which everyone is willing to make their contributions."
Belotti expanded on the highs and lows of his debut season with Roma, including how the club handled the defeat to Sevilla in the Europa League final and Mourinho's influence on him and the team.
And to his credit, Belotti didn't deflect when asked about his difficult first season with the Giallorossi, saying simply, "In terms of stats, it wasn't a good campaign for me, but it is what it is. The only way to turn things around is by digging deep every day."
With Abraham out until March 2024 and no immediate replacement yet secured, Belotti is the club's number-one striker by default, giving him ample opportunity to prove that 2022-2023 was an aberration.
And if there is any single player we can count on to "dig deep every day” to produce results, it's Belotti.