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Curva Fiesole fear similar ban in Florence

Fiorentina’s Curva Fiesole are readying 30 minutes of silence as they join protests against the barriers in Rome.

The transcript reads as follows: “On Tuesday, the 7th of February, our Fiorentina will take on Roma at the Olimpico. (At this point) it is enough that we consider the “history,” also that which is very recent, to understand how much is felt for its rivals in red and yellow. A race that has been ongoing for decades, marked by great battles, in the stands and outside (the stadium). It’s something that shouldn’t be happening, but we excuse ourselves and our conscience from the shameful conditions imposed on the Giallorossi ultras, that are still leaving their curva empty for the protests against repressive and unacceptable measures. It’s not just a question of colors in this case, nor solidarity towards a fanbase that throughout the years has been a protagonist of infamous gestures (scandalous things) and one that really has earned our profound hate. That which happened in Rome could happen tomorrow in Florence. It’s for this motive that the Curva Fiesole – which will be present at the Olimpico on Tuesday – will have a half-hour of silence and won’t display its banners in signs of protest against these measures that inhibit our freedom. Truly unique times that are trying to “normalize” our small spaces of freedom, which are still in place to try to get rid of our passion, and that have always gone against the Italian stadiums and the curve in particular.

-Curva Fiesole  


Italianism or Romanism? the future for Roma

The Chinese economy has done something wonderous – or, is it absurd – for world football. Players who were being paid three million six months ago, now find their salaries quadrupled, if not more with offers from Shangai, Gangzhou Evergrande, and other imperial clubs within China’s mainland.

In Italy alone, we have seen the Chinese Yen come to the rescue of the debt-riddled and managerially-failing Milan clubs. Following Silvio Berlusconi’s headaches (too much Bunga-Bunga) and Massimo Moratti’s “modest” bank accounts, the Chinese have offered lifelines to the stripes in Lombardi.

In irony’s truest form, now the Chinese ownerships have declared their intent to transform the teams into young Italian powerhouses – the new shining stars, le stelle of Italia. Yes, that’s right, after Inter’s literal foundations in being the international club of Italy, for foreign players, the emphasis has now shifted to the owners proclaiming their love and mission to make the team Italian. Milan’s Mr. Bee, or whoever it is now, has attested to just the same. Try to wrap your head around that one.

This got me to thinking, was it really important that Roma had an Italian identity? I tweeted after the Genoa-Roma match that it wasn’t important, that I’d rather sign the Lithuanian national team if it meant a Scudetto for Roma. But, that’s not entirely true, and I apologize.

After a long thought, I considered… What does it matter if a young player from Piedmont, Torino, or Modena comes to play for Roma? That somehow their Italian pride will make them a better player when playing for their nation’s capital? It’s a stretch.

What’s more important is that the player is a product of Rome – manufactured from the Primavera and/or the inferno that is the Eternal Capital. One who understands the ambiance, the attitudes, the pressures, and maybe most importantly, the expectations.

Further, Romans are not like other Italians – they see themselves as Romans first, then Italians, as “Frank” is famously quoted as saying.

But what is important, and what is crucial to the team’s essence, and to the missing tifosi, is that there is Roman blood within the squad.

It’s impossible to think of a Roma without the Bandiere – the true leaders, those who sacrifice greater successes and riches for the sake of their city and their team. Do I have to say it? TottiDeRossiFlorenzi. One word.

In terms of nurturing the next Bandiere, the “Go on loan and figure it out” policy has really been a thorn in Roma’s side. In fact, it has almost always failed.

Amato Ciciretti, who was supposed to be “The next Totti” went on loan for a couple years, was released by the club, and is now being scouted by Napoli. Marco D’Alessandro is becoming a useful piece at Atalanta. Lorenzo Pellegrini is growing exponentially at Sassuolo (thank God for the buyback), Gianluca Caprari was bought by Inter, Federico Viviani and Valerio Verre both showed signs of promise following their Primavera-championship-winning-years, Elio Capradossi is lost somewhere in Bari, trying to find his way. The list goes on.

A solution to this catastrophe of Roman talent is to make a “B Team,” like there is in Spain. But lets stay on task here.

The Primavera squad right now, still led by Alberto De Rossi, just keeps marching to success. They just conquered Inter 1-0 to speed to the semifinals of the Coppa Italia.

The Giallorossi will continue to risk losing their young treasures if smart loans are not made, to competent and fostering clubs which nurture Roma’s boys. But that’s a lot to ask for as well.

Marco Tumminello is another one of these – a Stefano Okaka Chuka, a Sadiq Umar. The next big striker who is supposed to lead Roma for years to come. It’s crucial that Roma does everything they can to provide the best environment for his development – either by training with the first-team and slow introduction, or on-loan at a healthy club with option to repurchase.

With this Roman identity strengthened – this Romanità – the club will reestablish itself as more than just a team. It is Rome, and if we keep the emphasis on coveting players from the system as strong as the flow of the Tiber, we can be assured of pride and victory to come.


“Call him Bobo. Tumminello is on fire”

This article is an adaptation from http://gianlucadimarzio.com/it/tumminello

His teammates call him “Bobo,” reminiscent of Christian Vieri. Primavera Champion of Italy and Supercoppa winner (in which the Giallorossi put up big numbers against Inter Milan).

He calls Vieri his idol: “He’s one of the players that I love most in the world.” And yet he celebrates like Montella, with the former Roma star’s “Aeroplanino,” hands out, flying straight across the field after a goal.

But Marco has his own style and identity. Another round and another win for “Tummy,” acting as an instrumental part of the Lupi squad that beat Inter 1-0 in the first-leg of the Semifinal for the Primavera Coppa Italia. His figures? 11 goals in nine matches for the season.

Tumminello is “On fire” as it’s now fashionable to say for him. He’s come back strong after six match disqualification in June for a “disrespectful attitude towards the referee.” Due to his hard-working attitude and maturity, it is just something that has come to pass for the young striker.

It’s a happy time for him. He remains as one of the strongest players in Italy for his age, and it’s truly the big moments which have made all the difference for him. Even last year, he scored 12 goals between league and cup ties. Discovered by Bruno Conti and brought to the club by Walter Sabatini and Massara when he was 13 years old, interest has already been shown by Sassuolo and AC Milan – though Roma has no intentions of letting him go.

Last year he earned his first start in professional football under Rudi Garcia, earning a couple minutes against Chievo Verona. Now he is under the watchful eyes of Luciano Spalletti and takes Edin Dzeko as a role model. The coach knows what he is capable of, and that’s afforded him training with the first team now.


Dinner for ex-player Bertini

Next week marks a celebratory charity-dinner to honor Giovanni Bertini’s 66th birthday, ex-player who now suffers from a rare neuromuscular disorder.


After six years with the Giallorossi, Bertini is acclaimed as one of the club’s most important players in the late 1960s and early 1970s, in which he played 54 matches. The defender though, now suffers from a rare neuromuscular disorder that has left him disabled.

The dinner will be held at Le Streghe on Via Tuscolana 643 on the 12th of January alongside authors such as Francesco Gocci, Diego Angelino, Paul Marcacci, Alessandro Oricchio, Marco Madeddu, Susana Marcellini, and many others.

During the event there will be a raffle with prizes such as an autographed football and signed jersey.



Lulic just 20 days? Preposterous

Following Senad Lulic’s 20-day-ban, I wanted to express my disappointment on the matter.

Italy, as well as the rest of Western Europe has a massive issue concerning racism. This issue transcends into many Italian stadiums on a match-day-basis, where a handful of teenagers and adults make monkey chants and other derogatory gestures towards players of color.

I expected a stronger testament by the FIGC, to denounce Lulic’s comments towards Antonio Rudiger. By calling him a street vendor, selling belts and clothes, the Lazio player referred to the wave of recent refugees and immigrants from Africa that are often forced to sell accessories due to lack of other financial opportunities.

Such inappropriate comments and behaviors need to be eradicated from not only calcio, but our culture. There is no better example-setter than the governing board of football – the sport where many of our youth look for their role models and heroes.

The arc of the ball – hope, disbelief, reality

Who, what, when, where, why: This article is based on a span of less than one second. The location is Bar Basso, West 57th St, NY, NY. It is with the Roma Club New York. It is for the derby, clearly. The date is the fourth of December, 2016. Why, well because as any good Romanista will tell you, Forza Roma – Sempre.

Hope – The ball leaves Kevin’s foot

An hour had already passed by. It took weeks to organize this event, to get Bar Basso owner Paolo to agree to host it, and meanwhile Roma were playing like pups rather than wolves. Psssh, any minute it felt like Lazio was going to take the lead – a couple close tries by Immobile in the first half, but the Giallorossi reentered for the second half with something different about them. Their purpose was suddenly tangible.

Bruno Peres was pushing up, in arguably his strongest performance for his new club. Diego Armando Perotti was pulling the strings as expected – cool, calm, and confident as always. Toni Rudiger, who could believe that this kid, less than half a year ago was walking with crutches after a major ACL repair. His effort was nothing short of Herculean that night.

These thoughts were bubbling on the back-burners as we waited for another chance on net. Edin Dzeko had scuffed two. Yet, Roma continued to press. Press they did, as Perotti found the ball from just in front of the Aquile half, and sent a through ground pass to Dzeko. Intercepted by Wallace – but what’s this? A silly contraption of efforts, and Strootman has the ball! Dzeko told to leave the ball! Holy hell, Strootman is in on net!

This one could go in!

Disbelief – Curling, the ball is at the center of its arch

As the ball reached its climax, suspended in midair, a thousand thoughts ran through each one of Bar Basso’s attendants. I think, is it, could it be? The ball looked to be going out from our angle, as the television’s slant made it impossible to tell if it was about to head in or out.

What does this goal mean for us now? Is the season back on track? Have Roma seriously just risen to the occasion and won Lazio’s so-called “Ethnic War?” Are Laziali pigs? Yes. Yes to all. Eyes lit like lovers staring into the moonlight with the finest glass of wine.

Reality – Down, and into goal

The ball is in the back of the net! The net is moving! It’s in! AAAAHHHHHH! Emotion erupted as every tifoso jumped on one another. For a moment, I felt the walls would come crashing down – there would no longer be a Bar Basso – but we were winning! The good guys are ahead!

The chipper had purged Lazio. Relief combined with ecstatic joy, and indescribable feeling assumed the bar.

Strootman was now running to the stands. His recovery had manifested with this goal, even if he was running under an empty Curva Sud. Although the eyes were not there to watch him proclaim his destiny, the hearts of Romanisti around the world embraced him as a true Roman.

The match ended of course with a wondergoal from Radja Nainggolan. Roma were the kings of Rome for 2016, and jubilations lasted until the evening in New York City.

We all laughed, and conversed through our WhatsApp group chat. We had been interviewed on RAI before, at halftime, and at the end of the match, and the club had gained notoriety. The good times will continue to come, in New York and in Rome – and only get better in spite of the FIGC and the re-founding of the Milan Clubs with Chinese money. Without borders, with all the banners, and all the fervor found in none other than Testaccio, The Roma Club New York had solidified itself as a family that Sunday – all in less than a second.



Roman Radio on Lazio-Roma

The following is an adaptation of an article from forzaroma.info

The radio Romano is a phenomenon, above all the other radio stations around Italy. A multitude of stations acting as a platform, the many journalists, with former players as well as pundits to enliven the show. Here are the opinions of the protagonists of the stations in Rome.


Iacopo Savelli: “The unfortunate situation for Salah? His absence in the derby will change the class of players on the field… But Roma is strong even without him, If it happened to Dzeko, that would be worse. Unfortunately these things are part of the game.”

Fabio Maccheroni: “Salah? Without him it changes the derby, but anyway El Shaarawy is great cover.”

Massimo Cecchini: “A surprise in the derby? I’m not really expecting it. I expect tighter defense on the wings, yes, but that means we won’t see the two fullbacks pushing forward. But at least one of them will be required to stay further back while one is more of a midfielder. But I don’t expect a revolution. Manolas will have the responsibility of covering 1 v 1 situations: The Giallorossi defense is much stronger than that of Lazio’s.

Fabrizio Aspri: “Are we sure that one fullback will be required to withhold? Lazio expects one to push further up. In terms of Nainggolan, he is a luxury playing there, due to his commitment to get back. There I really see Perotti, not the Belgian. Strootman? He will be present in the derby. Roma can’t stop now, not now that Juventus is finally showing cracks. If this is really a team with great attributes, this is the game in which they will have to show it.”

Paolo Franci: “Bruno Peres? He will be there, but he shows the tactical imbalance. Roma are a team with no balance and the first to pay for it are the fullbacks.”

Ugo Trani: “So far we have only spoken of the pitfalls of each team, but now the difficulties Lazio will face in defending, considering Dzeko is in excellent health. Regarding the January market I think Roma needs reinforcements with someone like Rincon in midfield, while definitely not losing anyone. For example, I think Roma needs a vice Strootman. On the corporate front the presence of Gandini is a step forward for the relationship between the organization and the fans. Possibly he can make us love the organization the same way we love the players.”

Marco Cassetti: “The derby will be a complicated game, it always is but now more than ever because the gap in technical quality has been reduced. Roma can suffer under Lazio’s attacking trident who are in top form. Unfortunately Peres has tactical limits, and the opponent creates their plan of attack by focusing on his deficiencies – although Manolas has been hiding it for him. Roma are also without Paredes. I hope we can get back to seeing the real Strootman, he had a small decline, but that’s normal.

Max Tonetto: “The derby is a game for players of personality. Roma will be playing “away from home” having only 4,000 fans. Roma will have to be very careful not to let up and to hide their faults.For me they key player will be Dzeko, he is the key to the derby. Without Salah, they definitely need Dzeko.

Danielle Lo Monaco: “Roma are the first candidate to challenge Juventus, the others are pretty good but they are not real competitors (for the Scudetto). The absence of the tifosi is a reflection of the current state of affairs in regards to the Olimpico, for if the match was held at the Flaminio there would be a lot of people. In any case, we will see how many go to the public workouts at Formello and Tre Fontane, as we are expecting a full house.


January’s top three solutions

In just over a month, the January 2017 transfer window will open for European teams. 

While Roma sits at the almost-top of the table, this success has been due to not just quality players, but Luciano Spalletti’s master approach. To have recovered the defense after losing Lucas Digne, and major injuries suffered by Toni Rudiger, Mario Rui, and Alessandro Florenzi, is a remarkable feat.

Part of the resurgence has been down to certain players like Federico Fazio rising above any expectations, and the constant running and control of the midfield. Daniele De Rossi has been spectacular, in what is supposed to be his receding years. Nevertheless, Roma enters the mercato with three must-need positions: Left back, creative midfield, and right-wing forward.

Although Juan Jesus was brought in for a hefty sum of ten million euros, his inconsistent play has left much to be desired. And even with Rui returning from injury, it will surely take time for the Portuguese fullback to regain confidence and to play three games per week.

The creator in midfield has been sorely missed since Miralem Pjanic’s departure. It was evident in preseason when Roma travelled to face Didier Drogba’s Montreal Impact, and remains a gaping hole in the club’s “simpler” games.

Further along, the Lupi will have to adjust to life without ‘Momo’ Salah – the right sided creative outlet will be away for the African Cup of Nations tournament from the middle of January to the first week in February. Egypt has a strong chance of progression, meaning Mo can be expected to be out for at least three weeks – at a time when Roma will have to face Sampdoria/Cagliari (pending on Coppa Italia results), Udinese, Cagliari (Serie A), Sampdoria, and Fiorentina. No small objective in such a short amount of time.

A shortlist has mentioned names such as Alessio Cerci, Memphis Depay, Gregoire Defrel, Alejandro Gomez, and Ladislav Krejci from Bologna. Oddly, the majority of those mentioned play left-wing forward, and are right-footed players, whereas Defrel is a center-forward. Not direct replacements for the right-sided, and left-footed Egyptian.

Another name to be mentioned is a stretch, but  the inquiry is worth a try – also considering the current sporting director’s emphasis on Italian talent. Federico Bernardeschi would be a fantastic option on loan with option to buy, although the chances Fiorentina are willing to depart with the player are very slim. He is from Tuscany, and is a hot commodity in Italian football, having already scored four goals and made one assist. Just two years ago though, he was on an expiring contract – a fact all Italian directors seem to have regretfully ignored.

The most realistic, and best suited option could be hiding within the long relationship just close to Florence though – Empoli’s Riccardo Saponara has had a slow start to the season, but a goal and assist in his last match against Pescara shows his play may just be a matter of confidence and submersion in a mid-level team. It was just two seasons ago he notched seven goals and three assists.

If the 24-year-old has the backing of a strong midfield, then there is no doubt his ball skills and blistering pace will be able to exploit most left backs, and supply Edin Dzeko with the dagger pass.

Supplying the forwards, the creative midfielder will have to be spritely – strong in the counterattack, and confident in possession. Very few names have been mentioned, so it is a mystery if Spalletti is still asking for such position. Though, it is likely, given the missed Borja Valero deal after crashing out of the Champions League qualification round.

Sardinia tends to hide gems – Daniele Conti, Marco Sau (don’t get me started on my love affair with Sau), and a player by the name of Davide Di Gennaro. Milan youth product, Di Gennaro is entering his prime now at 26-years-old, and is surely ready to return to a bigger club. When Roma faced Cagliari earlier in the season, he was unanimously rated as the best player on the field – constantly demonstrating his willingness to move the ball forward, and free the attackers ahead of him with long balls, or drag opponents onto him to liberate more space for the rest of them. These qualities could be exactly the tonic that Roma needs to make the big push for silverware.

In left defense, things become more tricky. While Matteo Darmian looks destined for a loan-move to Inter Milan, an interchangeable player such as him would be most useful. With just Bruno Peres accustomed to playing right wingback, the Giallorossi lack a truly find themselves short on this defensive flank. If the Italian international fullback could be persuaded, his impact would be most crucial. However, other alternatives like Jose Iglesias – otherwise known as Nacho – seem to be closer rather than further. With just four starts between all competitions for Real Madrid, the 26-year-old’s talent is hidden by the likes of Marcelo and Danilo. Sometimes, players in such scenarios just need confidence and continuous playing time in order to flourish.

Walter Sabatini was the Italian Chuck Norris – shooting from the hip, and hitting his target dead-on at times. We can agree that many of his selections and financial doings greatly impacted the club, yet, in the wake of amounted debt from Rosella Sensi and wrongfully rated players like Victor Ibarbo, Seydou Doumbia, and [insert failed player here], Roma’s budget remains constrained by the actions of the past generations. Only with sound decisions this January mercato, and that extra bit of luck, will Roma be able to capture some long-waited and needed silverware.



Manifesting Mazzitelli

On the heels of Walter Sabatini’s exit from Trigoria, professional coaches, to football pundits, to tifosi have sounded off. The question is, from Sky Sport to Twitter,  how will “#Sabatini” be remembered?

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San Totti – a painting, a masterpiece

Matt Walden is something of an art collector extraordinaire. While walking through his home in Houston, Texas, you might behold his collection –  amazing pieces of pop culture spins on classic motifs and styles. St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, maybe the only actual religious of his “saintly” paintings, with a series furthered by parodies from the “Gospel according to LOST” by author Chris Seay. Lastly, a folky painting of Rich Mullins as “St. Rich, the Patron Saint of Ragamuffins,” topped off the quirky compound.

Matt though, as interesting as his art sense may be, is just a normal family man. He likes baseball, red meat, and loves spending time with his kids and wife. He enjoys a nice beer, and takes pride in his facial hair. Fair enough.

But Romanisti, he is also an avid Roma fan – un di noi – and he recently commissioned the best piece of football artwork this century has seen. I give to you, “St. Totti, the patron saint of Roma.”


The story begins on the internet. One day, while involving himself in the usual banter of largest English-speaking Roma forum, “Bigsoccer,” something caught his eye. That something was the original Totti icon in the vintage split red and gold. You know it, you’ve seen it.


This painting, which was folklore to the footballing world, was crafted by Swiss-based artisan David Diehl. Walden notes,

He and I talked over email and I shared my collection of other icons with him.  I enquired about purchasing the old Totti icon, but he said it had been sold and wasn’t available.  I was bummed,


until he offered to make a new icon in honor of Totti’s 25 years playing with Roma and his 40th birthday.

The rest, as we say, is history. On July 7th, 2016, we started tossing around ideas for what the painting would eventually look like.  I wanted to make sure it had the captain’s armband and the home jersey from the final season. Based upon those conversations, Diehl sent me different mockups regarding different jerseys, hairstyles, faces, etc.

About a month later, Walden was rewarded with an almost-finished product:


Later, Diehl would add actual gold-leaf to the background. It was finished on September 14th, just almost two weeks later, Walden would get the surprise of his new “patron saint.” On the captain’s birthday, September 27th, he found the painting waiting for him at his front door.

Of course, I asked him the usual leading question, of which everyone has synonymous and likewise answers: “Why Totti?”

To me, Totti is the reason i fell in love with Roma.  I went to Rome on my honeymoon and went to a Roma game and was blown away.  It was a home game in 2003 against Empoli and Totti scored in a 3-1 win.  On the way back to the hotel after the match, i bought a Totti poster, and almost every memory of Roma since has revolved around Totti.  I watch every Roma game, no matter where i am in the world.  and this painting to me will be eternal, just like Totti’s achievements at Roma!

I’ve had the honor of meeting him twice, and he spent some time with my son once before he walked out on the field with the team in Denver.  To say he will be missed is an understatement!

Such a monument is truly remarkable for Er Pupone’s supposed final season, and Walden’s newest piece is undoubtedly some of the finest artwork the footballing world may ever see.

Possibly the greatest sense of satisfaction came when Totti replied about the painting on his official website: matt1xx.jpeg

Diehl can be reached on Twitter @Daviddiehld_art, while Walden is @Mattwalden37. You can see some more Walden’s personal collection below:


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