A.S.Roma in English

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Month: March 2016

Perotti: “Now I’m Happy”

Today, Roma’s trequartista/false nine, Diego “Armando” Perotti stated the following to pagineromaniste.com:

Now I’m happy, I never thought I would be playing this much. I truly hope we can arrive in third place, and next year to play in the Champions League from the beginning, because I played only against Real Madrid this season. It would be beautiful then to win something with Roma because we have the squad to do it.

What kind of career would I have had without the unfortunate moments? We will never know. Now I have the luck to have surpassed these ugly moments and to have re-found my level of play. I don’t want to think about “what could have happened.”

Regarding his past physical issues…

Did I ever think about quitting early on? Yes, because I couldn’t find a way to escape what was happening to me. I went to the doctors and they said I was fine, but the truth was I couldn’t play three to four matches in a row. There was a year where I thought that I should stop. Then, I got the opportunity with Genoa, and it changed my life.

Perotti’s coach is also a big fan of his talents…

“Diego is an exceptional player that makes sacrifices for the team.”

Perotti now has a new lease on his career at 27-years-old. With fortune reigning down on him, he has the arsenal of attributes and determination to lead Roma onto glory.

 

 

Italy-Spain Review

I review 24 March, 2016’s friendly between Italy and Spain.

#RomaInter, Brussels, De Rossi

In this week’s episode I’m reviewing Roma-Inter, Nainggolan’s reaction to the terrorist attacks in Belgium, and De Rossi placing his 2006 World Cup medal in the kitman’s coffin.

Sabatini’s Top 3 Acquisitions

This Friday afternoon, Walter Sabatini made his future official: “I’ve asked Pallotta to rescind my contract in June.” After speculation of Walter’s departure for about a year now, the society and fans now have some closure and transparency as to what will be happening inside the club this summer.

Opinions on Walter truly divided the fans; some loved him and his cigarette puffing from atop the Stadio Olimpico, whereas others criticized his “buy, flip, buy two more” policy. Opinions may be kept on him, but in the following paragraphs, his top three purchases are analyzed.

3. Kevin Strootman

The Dutch dynamo was the stand-out and strongest central midfielder during his first season with Roma, in 2013-14. In 2005 minutes played that season, Strootman scored five goals and created six assists.On the defensive side of things, his 3.3 tackles per match were a perfect compliment to exemplify just how balanced of a player that Kevin really was/is.After being out for almost two full years, Kevin is ready to come back after being operated on by a surgeon that Totti recommended. Have full faith, Kevin will come back stronger than ever. It’s most likely that he will see few minutes this season in order to let him regain full health for next season, so look for him to become a prominent player in giallorosso once again in 2016/17. #DajeKevin

strootman-allenamento-pinzolo

2.Marcos Aoás Corrêa, commonly known as Marquinhos

It was the sale of our beloved Marcos that financed Mehdi Benatia and the above-mentioned Kevin Strootman, but have no doubt, Romanisti all around the world miss their young Brazilian. The boy who sat with the Curva Sud and kept hope alive during some of the darker times in Roma’s history, Marcos was a Serie A sensation at just 18-years-old. With his last-gasp tackling, match winning saves, speedy entrance out of the back, and sharp passing abilities, Marcos was one of Roma’s top centerbacks of the past 20 years. Recommended by fellow countryman Leandro Castan, Marcos was bought for around five million euros and sold for more than 30 million. Though, the 600% investment profit did little to warm Roman hearts, and he remains a missed man to this day. He says he still follows Roma, and would love to return one day. These comments just hurt us Roma fans on the inside, as it’s rumored that he will be moving to Barcelona or Madrid this summer. Cry for me Argentina!

marcoscurvasud.jpg

1. Miralem Pjanić

Sabatini’s master-coup must be the “Little Prince.” I can remember it like it was yesterday; Roma failed to sign Ricardo Montolivo after the player refused to join the club (lol), and there was nervousness around Rome as the “Americans” had failed to land a proper, and needed center midfielder. Then, on the last transfer day, 31 August 2011, Serie A’s official website reported it before anyone else did: “Miralem Pjanić, transfer to A.S. Roma from Olympique Lyon.” “Yes! He did it!” I thought. Walter landed one of the hottest midfield prospects for just 11 million euros. The Little Prince went onto score 12 goals and make 12 assists in the next three seasons, struggling to find consistency, but showing moments of master class. Last year’s five goals and ten assists were a great feat, until this season: Miralem now has nine goals and ten assists in just mid-March. With the highest free-kick success rate in all of Europe and ability to dictate match tempo, he has solidified himself as one of the top possession-based midfielders in all of football. Roma must hold on to him with dear life this summer, even if that means sacrificing other commodities, like those proving themselves out on loan. Miralem Pjanić stands as Walter Sabatini’s top purchase during his tenure for the giallorissi. 

Paint me a picture, Giotto!

giottopjanic

 

#UdineseRoma Review

The Story of Vincenzo Paparelli

The following story is of Vincenzo Paparelli, a fan attending a Derby della Capitale on the 28th of October, 1979. I was inspired to write this while reading John Foot’s Winning at All Costs, from which I am pulling the story from:

 

Angelo Paparelli couldn’t make the Rome derby on 28 October 1979. He lent his season ticket to his brother, VIncenzo, a car mechanic born in 1936, who went along to the game with his wife, Wanda.

In order to get a good view for the Rome derby, you need to get there early. Vincenzo arrived more than an hour before kick-off, and grabbed a bite to eat on the way in. Shortly after they had sat down in the packed curva nord, Vincenzo’s wife heard a kind of phhhfff sound. She turned to her husband to see him slumped forward. Something was sticking out of his head and blood had splashed onto other spectators. Her immediate reaction was to pull the object out. It had penetrated his brain through his left eye, and smoke was still coming out of its tail. The item lodged in Vincenzo’s skull was a nautical rocket and it had flown something like 160 metres over the whole pitch to embed itself in the head of the young father of two. A doctor who tried to save Paparelli later spoke of a “war injury.” Vincenzo died on the way to hospital. The game continued, amidst violent scenes as the Lazio fans tried to invade the pitch. Rome declared a day of mourning and the whole Lazio team attended Paparelli’s funeral.

The rocket had been “smuggled” into the stadium and launched by an eighteen-year-old fan, Giovanni Fiorillo. In 1993 Fiorillo died of a drug overdose.

 

I’ll end the story there. The point isn’t to blame either team, either person, the police, or even at the FIGC. The fact of the matter is that day in 1979, a father of two young children lost his life at a football match; something that should never, ever have occurred.

Now if you’re starting to think of me as some pacifist, library-loving guy who just wants peace, well that is wrong. Roma needs the 12th man, Roma needs the Curva Sud. We also need a new stadium that houses the Curva Sud. But what we can’t have anymore is rockets and bombs inside a damn stadium. That was 37 years ago, and I’m not sure much has changed. But aside from the restrictions that the city has imposed in the Curva Sud, which has nothing to do with what I’m saying, what needs to be produced is an alternative to flares. Something like a smoke canister, some type of safe alternative that would keep explosive devices outside a stadium, albeit a Roman stadium, from hurting anyone again.

 

Roma’s Stadiums: A History

Before Roma was the club we know today, several clubs were forced into merger to create a super-Roman organization. The talent pool had been diluted by the many clubs in Rome. Therefore, Italo Foschi, Secretary of the Roman Fascist Federation of Mussolini’ political party Partito Nazionale Fascista (PNF) combined the many sporting clubs, which incorporated football, cycling, and other athletics.[1] These preliminary clubs were Football Club Roma, Roman, Fortitudo-Pro Roma S.G.S, Audace Roma, and Società Sportiva Alba.

08ZancanaroAlbaRoma25-26 S.S. Alba

The clubs enjoyed a respectable amount of success: In 1922, Fortitudo-Pro Roma were runners-up in the Southern Championship. They were also Scudetto contenders in 1922 but lost against Pro Vercelli. Their ownerships came from diverse economical backgrounds, which helps give credibility to the club’s support from not just one socioeconomic class, but in all classes throughout Rome.[2] Ricatti explains,

Roman Club was owned by a lawyer and supported by various members with a solid financial position. Alba was created and personally owned by the proprietor of a pizza and wine shop outside Rome. Fortitudo, which was created in Borgo Pio, a rione (old Roman district) close to the Vatican, was for many years managed by priests under the shadow of the Vatican aristocracy.[3]

A year before becoming part of A.S. Roma, S.S. Alba became the Southern champions of 1924-25. The Fascist regime wanted to consolidate the power within the city, forcing Alba into merger with Audace Roma. They then became known as S.S. Alba-Audace Roma. Alba-Audace won the Southern Championship the following year, just as Alba did the previous season, although they missed out on winning the Scudetto, the championship for Italy, on both occasions. The former retained its green and white team colors, though these colors would ultimately be dismissed in the new club, as the primary team colors of A.S. Roma became those of the city’s: red and gold. The Capitoline she-wolf also became Simbolooriginaleasromathe symbol of Roma; a uniting emblem for all of Rome’s populous. There was a clear plan for Roma to become a powerhouse of football: the first coach hired was Englishman, William Garbutt. An expensive acquisition, Garbutt won the Scudetto with Genoa, in the 1923-24 season, noting the economic strength behind Roma. These teams eventually combined to become Associazione Sportiva Roma on 8 June, 1927, playing their first match just several months later.

 

 

Only a few players could be selected from each team to create Roma, which left the unpicked looking for another club. Some clubs provided more players than others, as well as other sporting resources. Alba’s primary influence on the newly-formed club was through Roma’s residence. “Motovelodromo Appio” or “Moto-Velodrome of Appio,” was Roma’s first stadium.

mva1This venue was a convenient choice for the new club, as Alba had used it for their 20-year existence. Before merging with Audace Roma, Società Sportiva Alba owner Umberto Farneti built the velodrome-modelled stadium there, as he owned the land in its neighborhood of Flaminio. The Appio was bigger than Madonna del Riposo stadium, and could hold the supporters, which would unite together from the former-clubs. Roma only spent the 1927-28 and 1928/29 season there.

mva4A.S. Roma, 1927mva3

“Campo Testaccio,” or “Field of the Testaccio neighborhood,” opened on 3 November, 1929, and acted as a multi-use stadium where Roma held their home-matches for 11-years. The structure was designed by Silvio Sensi, the grandfather of Franco Sensi (who would later become owner of Roma during their third championship-winning season). It was modeled off of the English stadiums (especially Everton’s), and there were four stands of wood painted with the team colors of yellow gold and Pompeian red. The wood construction made a thunderous acoustic presentation, easily audible from a distance. The grass field’s dimensions could be adjusted according to the team’s needs, and a house outside the stadium walls, which were painted in team colors and housed the coach.[4]

CampoTestaccio1

Testaccio now sits as a ruin, waiting to be converted into a parking garage

Its size, accessibility, and financial convenience helped the growth of Roma in its appeal to the working class, which the Testaccio neighborhood was composed primarily of. In fact, if you did not have the money to buy a ticket, you could watch the matches from the Monte dei Cocci. Yet, the Testaccio held only 20,000 spectators, and Roma was planned to become a symbol of Italian victory and conquest; a venue greater, of true magnificence was needed if Roma were to become worthy of Romanità.

Amongst its symbolism upon Italy’s populous, the other crucial function of architecture was to gain status vis-à-vis to other European nations.[5] Along with the great urban structures of the Fascist era, sport would not be marginalized. Two major stadiums would be constructed as sociopolitical devices in Rome through the Fascist regime.

The” Stadio Nazionale del Parte Nazionale Fascista,” or “Stadium of the Nationalist Fascist Party,” is commonly referred to as the “Stadio PNF.” It was enacted for general sporting use, including rugby, soccer, horse racing, and boxing. Built in 1911, the stadium went through a major renovation before becoming a symbol of Fascist sport. Its most notable usage was hosting three of 17 matches of the 1934 World Cup, including the final between Italy and Czechoslovakia on 10 June, 1934. Arguably the world’s most prominent sporting event, the world watched as Italy hoisted the World Cup above their heads in their 1934 victory; a statement to Italians, the Third Reich, England, and all other colonial powers that Italy had risen from the Mutilated Victory, and was now a world force. In this instance, football was politics, and politics were football.

campotestaccio2Lazio were first to move to the stadium, with the first inner-city derby resulting in a tie. Roma eventually moved to the Stadio PNF from the Campo Testaccio in 1940. This move proved a lucky change of scenery for Roma, as they marched on to win their first Scudetto in the 1941/42 season. This was the first time a team from the center-south of Italy had won the Scudetto. Unfortunately for Roma’s potential continuity of success, all Italian soccer was then halted due to World War II; the Stadio PNF became occupied by Allied troops.

campotestaccio3

Seasonal play returned to Italy, but Roma and Lazio moved to a larger, Olympic sized stadium just a couple years after the war’s conclusion. On top of the old ground of the Stadio PNF, the Stadio Flaminio was built. The Flaminio has had a minimal influence in top-league football and went without a home team for many years, until Rome and Lazio used it as a substitute-stadium in the 1989-90 season.

The Stadio Olimpico is Roma’s current stadium. Officially opened in 1939, the Olimpico was first named Stadio dei Cipressi, or “Stadium of the Cyprus Trees,” for the abundant amount of cyprus trees which surrounded (and still-do today) the area and its hillside. Part of Foro Mussolini, or “Mussolini’s Forum,” it was part of a mega sports-complex for activating and impressing the Fascist regime’s subjects, as well as distracting them from the realities of war. The via Piazzale dell’Impero leading to the Olimpico still remains today; an ornate, white marble walkway decorated with ancient-Rome styled mosaics of sporting scenes and huge tablets of stone engraved with mottoes celebrating Italian history.

The construction of the Stadio Olimpico was therefore the Fascist movement embodied in a political-sporting scene for the masses. The current stadiums of 1920s Rome were tight, smaller, and simpler in their construction; based off the rationalist architectural movement. The Olimpico would be the antithesis of this design; massive, able to accommodate over 80,000 people, designed for the loudest of acoustics, all-purpose for accommodating events from major speeches and political rallies to sporting matches, and central to the geography of the capital.

stadio-olimpico-01Stadio dei Cipressi, before renovations turning it into the Stadio Olimpico

Within Foro Mussolini, Stadio dei Marmi, or “Stadium of the marbles” accompanied the Olimpico. This smaller stadium for training is encircled by 59 marble statues of athletes, each about four meters tall, replicating the designs of antiquity, and representing the different provinces of Italy. The statues, which were made from Carrara marble (the same marble quarry of Michaelangelo), were donated from the province of Viterbo, and sit next to the Academy of Physical Education.[6] The Hercules statues were made of white marble, which when in direct sunlight, exude a radiant, almost blinding glow. The celestial appearance combined with the poses and form of the statues and common theme of white throughout the Fascist regime was, as Simon adds, “a consistent feature of the myth of the new vitality of Fascist life, which architecture was intended to symbolize.”[7]

In the 1953-54 season, both Roma and Lazio made the switch out of the Stadio PNF, to the Olimpico.

Olimpicoatnight

Sources

[1] Testa, Alberto and Gary Armstrong, Football Fascism and Fandom: The Ultras of Italian Football (London: A & C Black Publishers Ltd, 2010), 31.

[2] Giuseppe Colalucci, A.S. Roma: da Testaccio all’Olimpico. Firenze: Grafica, 1977, in Francesco Ricatti, “La Roma: Soccer and Identity in Rome,” Annali d’Italianistica 28. 2010: 217-236.

[3] Ricatti, “La Roma: Soccer and Identity in Rome,” 219.

[4] Cei, Alberto, “Campo Testaccio in Rome: A Bad Italian History.” AlbertoCei.com, May 21, 2013. www.albertocei.com/en/2013/05/rivogliocampotestaccio/

[5] Mia Fuller, “Building Power: Italy’s Colonial Architecture and Urbanism, 1923-1940,” Cultural Anthropology 3 (November 1988): 455-487.

[6] Marchesini, Daniele, “Come in un Specchio: Il Corpo di Carnera e di Mussolini,” La Ricerca Folklorica 60 (October 2009): 25-28.

[7] Martin, “Football and Fascism,” 96.

Roma-Fiorentina Review

Roma in 3rd Place

A 1-1 finish between Fiorentina and Napoli was enough to make me happy on this Leap Day of 29 February. It was a pretty scrappy game with passing inferior to the Europa League (no offense Europa League). For two of Italy’s heavyweights, I really expected a better quality match. But anyways, what I’m writing about today, is what we should be grateful for…

Roma is back in third place. It’s a fantastic feeling. Just how did we get here, after a year of downward slope, and only a redemption in May 2015’s Derby Day? You know how; il paletto, Lucio, Luciano Spalletti! Now I’m not saying Lucio is the best coach in the world, or that he will never be fired in the future for when the locker room decides they want their rest days back. But since his first stint in 2005 with Roma, Lucio has shown exponential growth as a coach.

In fact, back in 2005, it was his versatility that brought out the best of Totti and the best of Roma in his hybrid 4-2-3-1 formation. Since his hiring in 2016, his tactical ability and diversity has truly been unparalleled on Roma’s bench in consideration of semi-recent memory. Between the 3-5-2, the 4-3-3, the 4-2-3-1, and all the interchanges in between those roles, Spalletti is exactly what the doctor ordered, and credit must be given for not only the faith in Rudi Garcia, which shows confidence in a project, but also the ability to wait until, understand the quality that Lucio brought with him. Am I giving too much credit to Sabatini and co.? I don’t think so, his appointment was seemingly a wise, long-thought out decision, with the focus on a coach for the long-term, in this American project that is slowly but surely heading up the ladder of world clubs.

And no, I’m not saying Roma is going to win the Scudetto, or even that they will win on Friday against Fiorentina. But if nothing else, Roma’s train is back on track, with Lucio as the conductor.

 

 

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