Umm, yeah. Since this is Roma, you just knew the Antonio Rüdiger news wouldn’t go through as simple as that. Rüdiger, who was officially sold to Chelsea this morning for a potential €39 million, was one of the more well-liked players among the fanbase and, as it turns out, among the actual squad. His dazzling smile, cheeky dance moves and friendly persona made him a glue guy, one to whom the players flocked and bonded around.
Given his popularity, it was only right to expect fans to be upset and for his teammates to wish him well. First up in that procession was Kevin Strootman, who took to Instagram to post his official farewell to his now bygone teammate.
Nothing controversial about that—just a quick, sincere goodbye from a teammate and friend—but the comments that followed have really stirred up a mini-firestorm for Roma.
First up, Radja Nainggolan.
Sorry about the lack of clarity there, but as you can see, Nainggolan responded to Strootman’s postmark by simply saying “I don’t know.” The trouble with this new fangled media is that it leaves so much room for speculation—was Nainggolan referring to Mario Rui leaving? Was he dropping nuggets about Kostas Manolas’ future? We simply have no idea, but that didn’t stop one of his former teammates from potentially unravelling an even bigger social media shitstorm.
Mohamed Salah, the first salvo in Roma’s summer sell off, left us with this beauty:
Losing Radja Nainggolan, Roma’s best player by a mile and easily one of the top five to ten midfielders in the world, would be a crushing blow, not only to the club’s spirits, but their simple chance of competing, to say nothing of, you know, actually achieving something this coming season. So to see one of the club’s former players chime in with something so potentially cutting and incisive is worrisome.
Far be it from me to editorialize about actual club chemistry, but it seems as though the “lack of faith” to which James Pallotta spoke of last week, in reference to fans questioning the club’s motives, has possibly spilled over to the dressing room, leaving Kevin Strootman as the bulwark against the seemingly unstoppable tide of sales.
Strootman trying to prevent more players from leaving Roma... pic.twitter.com/n2bsVjGrYj— Chiesa di Totti (@chiesaditotti) July 9, 2017
Roma may not be a supermarket, but there might be a morale issue unfolding in the stockroom.