A.S.Roma in English

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Month: October 2015

Why Roma Tied in Leverkusen, 4-4, Oct. 20, 2015

Driving home after work, anxious to see what was happening in the Champions League,  I was lucky to miss seeing Roma fall 2-0 to Bayer Leverkusen. By the time I arrived home, Roma had scraped a point back, and as I went to take my tie off, De Rossi equalized it, right before the half. “Fantastic,” I thought; now an open match, Roma could start from scratch for the second-half, and really show these Germans a thing or two.

Wow, what a goal by Miralem Pjanić! His second freekick goal of the week! 2-3. A handful of minutes later, a wonderful play by Gervinho to Iago Falque, who puts it home! 2-4, Roma surely have it in the bag now. Surely….Surely, I was wrong. We were all wrong. In analyzing just what went wrong, and how Roma tied 4-4 in Leverkusen, we must analyze Garcia’s tactical and player choices, as well as personal mistakes and discrepancies by the players.

Starting the match with a diamond midfield, Rudi chose a youthful backline including Digne on the left, Rüdiger next to him, and Manolas to his right, with the addition of ole Greek warrior, Torosidis. De Rossi at the bottom of the diamond, Florenzi to the right, Nainggolan to the left, and Pjanić freed up to send Gervinho and Salah on their way to net. A good tactical idea by Rudi, sans a fit Edin Džeko.

3′: Rudi’s only realistic rightback choice of Torosidis makes a mess of things. A lunge to fight off a clearance, Toro left his arms way high in the air behind his body. A penalty kick if I’ve ever seen one. A personal error, another “this could only happen to Roma” moment. 1-0

18′: Manolas and De Rossi are dumbfounded, as Chicharito trails in behind them, unmarked. Rüdiger keeps him onsides, completely tactically unaware of the backline’s movement. What is worse, is that Szczesny saves the first shot, but the five players surrounding Chicharito allow him another shot, and even time to have a nice cup of espresso. 2-0

29′: De Rossi shows why Roma pays him tons of money, leading the Serie A salary chart. 2-1

36′: Hernandez surely should have put Bayer up 3-1. Rüdiger is beat out by Bayer’s right winger, and Manolas loses sight of Chicharito. An incredible miss.

38′: De Rossi scores yet again, true gladiator. Ci sono due capitani. 2-2

84′: Rudi Garcia changes to a 6-3-1 formation, inviting Bayer to apply pressure. Kevin Kampl makes Rudi’s Roma pay, with a magical brace outside the 18 yard box. Roma were losing possession for some time leading up to the goal. 3-4

86′: A fascinating loss of control. Rüdiger keeps the last man onsides, Torosidis stumbles under his feet, Digne loses sigh of his mark, and De Rossi hangs his head in fury. We were all equally disgusted. 4-4

If you followed the timeline chronologically, you will read that Antonio Rüdiger was responsible for destroying the offside trap, resulting in two goals. Rüdiger is not renowned for his tactical sensibility, but even so, the German international surely knows how to play in an offside trap. There is more to the story: Rüdiger was one of the last to arrive this summer, entering Trigoria on the last days of the mercato. With the least amount of time to prepare, he then suffered from the injury he came from Germany with, meaning he had the least amount of time out of any player in the squad to physically and tactically prepare. In addition, Rüdiger is a centerback, meaning his chemistry in the backline is most critical. I can, but we also can’t completely blame Antonio Rüdiger. He will continue to learn the backline, but Rudi should have read this; Castan was coming off a wonderful game, and surely should have given him the start.

To conclude, Rudi must make better choices in his starting XI. The formation was a great adjustment in the midst of Džeko’s absence, yet choosing Rüdiger over Castan in such a crucial match was a major blunder. On top of the personal mistakes mentioned by Torosidis, and Rudi’s choice to invite pressure, Roma tied a game that should have been won. At the bottom of their Champions League group, the Frenchman will now need to pull a rabbit out of his hat.

And just for the record, that cover page is totally not my property.

Radja Nainggolan Interview in Rolling Stone

The following text is translated from this month’s Rolling Stone interview with Radja Nainggolan:

27 years old, elegant midfielder, able to take the ball from anyone. Radja Nainggolan wears the Roma jersey, and they call him the “Ninja.” Born in Antwerp to a Belgian mother and an Indonesian father who ran away, Nainggolan was very much a street footballer. A crest always varying on his head and 50 tattoos all over his body, he has the appearance of a warrior, and is always in good spirits with the Roma fans. For how strong he is on the field, it doesn’t need to be said that he a great guy off the field.

This summer, something came out showing you partying in ibiza. What happened?

It’s all being exaggerated. It was a beautiful evening. It was a party that started out on the beach and we moved onto the club.

Are you still a “soccer player of the disco?” You have a wife and child now. 

Yes, I am still. I don’t want to just stay home every night like others do; house-field-house-field-house-field. I think in the right moments you should enjoy your life, and sometimes lash out a bit.

Has the club or fans ever given you any problem about this? 

No, never. It’s because I’ve chosen the right moments to enjoy myself.

This year you were seen at a concert for Snoop Dogg and Stromae.

You know a lot about me… Stromae I knew from Belgium, from a videoclip before World Cup 2014. The Snoop Dogg tickets were given to me as a gift, so I went.

Is that the type of music you listen to most?

Yeah, it’s more relaxing for me than the “bum bum” of house music.

You were born in Antwerp, the city of fashion and music.

Yes, but I don’t have time to return right now, it’s better when I am on national team duty. It’s a very lively city, more diverse than Milan or Rome. Well, it’s a bit colder too. If you ask me where I’m from, I’ll always say Antwerp, because it’s where I grew up. But I think my future will be in Italy, I have too many ties to this country now.

This summer you returned to Indonesia, the land of your father.

I knew my father very little, but even so, it was a great experience. I was happy to go there on tour with the team. I was there last year also, in three or four cities, in the richer places as well as the poorer, with homeless people living outside on the road.

When did you start to play like the Nainggolan we see?

I’ve always played like this. When I was little I played more offensive roles, because kids always want to score goals. But I was a player who fought for everything, and I never stopped, not even now that I play in a great squad.

In these past years you’ve come to understand that there is a rapport between the which you are on field and the way you live off the field?

I realize that if things to well on the field, they go well of the field. Off the field, I don’t cause any problems, not to anyone. I live my life, I have fun and enjoy.

On the field, can the grinta solve everything?

I like players like this. But still it’s important to play next to more technical players, who are also able.

Therefore, the grinta is important in the locker room.

I am one who gets along with everyone in the locker room. But on the field, I only want to win, and there can be some bickering between those who aren’t following this. Everything finishes there. When there is something to say, say it calmly.

It’s better to talk about it.

Yes, because the team can better itself all together. Otherwise it’s all faking, and teams who fake don’t win.

You know a lot of players who are “fake,” like you say?

I don’t know about others, I speak only for myself. When I play small matches with friends, I want to win. And unfortunately, when it doesn’t go well, I want it to be understood by all involved.”

“Unfortunately,” you say? You are one who speaks out on Twitter.

Twitter is important for being in contact with the fans. It’s true, sometimes I respond to the provocations. I should be respected, as a footballer and as a person.

Is it really you on Twitter?

I do it all.

Once you were insulted by the head of the Curva.

It’s not just Rome, everywhere they damn you. And if you leave the field losing, it’s no good. A team is like a family, you are everyday together, living together… If they insult my teammate, I defend him. I will go to war for my teammates, it’s what I do when we are winning and also when we are losing.

The tattoos and the crest are like your costume? Would you have them even if you didn’t become famous?

I can’t say. When I played for Piacenza, when I wasn’t famous, I started getting tattoos on my arm. Maybe at the start I didn’t think to get so many, but when you start doing it, more becomes automatic.

Last year you joined in the protests against homophobia, wearing rainbow laces. 

It’s nothing unusual, My twin sister Riana was with a woman, I see her happy, and I accept her happiness. For me it’s important that you feel good and live as you think.

Riana plays calcio, and lives with you at Casal Palocco. Do you ever go into the city center?

I know all the local places, but if someone notices me, I’m dead. I like to shop though, and take walks in the city center.

I know that when you played for Cagliari you lived in a small town.

It was a bit like where I live now. Everyone knew each other at the bar (cafe), and we greeted each other.

Did the conversations come to football?

No no! At the bar, I’m quiet.

Marquinhos: A Love Not Lost

Marcos Aoás Corrêa, better known as Marcos or Marquinhos, was purchased in the summer of 2012 for 4.5 million euros. After a recommendation from Leandro Castan, Marcos found himself sitting on the Roma bench, second in line behind Guillermo Burdisso. After a substitution for Ivan Piris at rightback, the player was given more faith by then manager, Zdenek Zeman. Unbeknownst to tifosi in Rome or abroad, the young defender from São Paulo stole the hearts of the Curva Sud in just a few matches. Pairing up and creating a defensive wall with Castan, Marcos went onto play 26 games the 2012/13 season. It was a miracle next to Vatican City, and it was confirmed that Roma had found a defensive gem she could build on.

It rained on Roman souls that late day in July, when Marcos was sold. Paris Saint Germain came knocking, and Walter Sabatini answered. But how could this be? Roma could build upon the player, a defensive for possibly the next two decades. A player who showed up to the biggest matches, when the rest of the squad was in panic. That was part of the problem; Marcos’ value skyrocketed in just those 26 matches, and a profit of 30 million euros in just 11 months was too much for Pallotta and Sabatini to wave away. The majority of the sale was reinvested into the transfer fees and salaries for Mehdi Benatia and Kevin Strootman, and it was rightly believed that this policy would make the team stronger.

No doubt, this technique, and the players acquired did make the team stronger. But what Roma lost was intangible: a player that fought for the shirt, just 18 years old, and who shown himself to be one of the best, if not the best defensive prospects in the world. That is why Roma tifosi (including myself) were pretty darn excited when Calciomercato.it reported that Sabatini was interested in bringing back Marcos, in the upcoming January market window.

No, Calciomercato.it is not the most reliable, but it is an interesting, exciting, and maybe even doable proposition. With Marcos’ adoration of Rome, and being disgruntled with a lack of playing time at PSG, the player’s wishes could have an effect on the transfer, as happened with Lucas Digne. A loan with option to buy for only 20 million euros may not be feasible, but a nudge upwards in that price, and a couple pieces moved around by next year could ease the blow on Roma’s budget. Surely, we could use Marcos as our centerpiece in the backline once again. His bringing of stability, confidence, and passion could be exactly what Rome needs.

In case you have forgotten what Marquinhos did for Roma, check out Scoutnation’s video here. Below is a message of his towards the fans. Make it happen Walter.

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