When we first started following the Roma women last year in their debut campaign, we were struck by many things: the beauty of Roma shirts sans sponsors, the revolving price of gas on the signs just outside the stadium walls, and of course the talent of the women on the pitch. And lost among the crowds of towering defenders and blazing fast wingers on the Tre Fontane pitch was a diminutive blonde scurrying among those more statuesque players.
However, rather than looking out of place, this young Roman wearing the number 20 shirt looked more like the ring master and less like a caged animal on the loose; she was calm, composed, relentless and in complete command of the chaos around here. And she was, as it turned out, cut and dyed in the Roma cloth since birth.
Giada Greggi, Roma's 20-year-old midfield maestro, was a mainstay for the Giallorosse last season, featuring in 21 of their 22 league fixtures, scoring two goals in just under 1,800 minutes. Greggi played deep, she sat in the heart of the midfield, in the hole as a trequartista, and even saw a few spot appearances at forward, doing everything to keep Roma's attack moving forward. Along with fellow Roman Elisa Bartoli, leading scorer Annamaria Serturini and whiz kid Agnese Bonfantini, Greggi completed one of the most talented and promising quartets in the league. Oh, and she's also the future of Roma. Not sure if we mentioned that yet.
Roma's second season may still be in the incubator, but Greggi's impact has already been felt, both directly and otherwise. Without Greggi starting from the jump against AC Milan in week one, Roma's attack was a step slow and lacking bite, a problem that was quickly remedied when Greggi reclaimed her starting spot last week in Roma's 2-0 road win over Fiorentina, injecting that same verve we saw so often last season.
But all of that is window dressing to today's news:
@GiadaGreggi always dreamed of representing her country...— AS Roma Women (@ASRomaWomen) September 26, 2019
Today, coach Betty Bavagnoli announced she had received her first Italy call-up in front of her Roma teammates... ❤️ pic.twitter.com/hiSTpdxFuA
Following their training session today, Betty Bavagnoli broke the news that Greggi had finally earned her first call-up to the senior national team, where she'll join Elisa Bartoli, Manuela Giugliano and Annamaria Serturini for Italy's upcoming fixtures against Malta and Bosnia & Herzegovina.
Speaking to Roma TV last week, Greggi spoke of her Azzurre ambitions:
My aims are to keep improving, both technically and tactically, and to give everything towards helping the team qualify for the Champions League...Personally, I would really like to earn an international call-up – because to represent your country is a huge honour.
If their performance at this past summer's World Cup was any indication, Italy are a nation on the rise in the women's game, and with Greggi joining the likes of Giugliano, Bartoli, Serturini and (eventually) Agnese Bonfantini, Roma may very well play a large role in the Azzurre's continued ascent.
Full marks to Greggi; at only 20-years-old she's already emerged as one of Serie A's most influential players, and if this call up is any indication, she'll soon do the same on the international stage.