There's a whole host of statistics out there that might give us some confidence- It's been 4-5 years since Roma has beaten Juventus, it's since 2000-2001 since they've beaten us in Turin, and Francesco Totti has never scored on Turin. All of these, as you know, are pretty much irrelevant as the Saturday evening clash ensues. There are no two ways about it, we are screwed.
This game has been approached with a fair amount of detente from the two sides. Like Palermo-Fiorentina and Inter-Milan, this is (on paper) a hotly contested match between two sides that don't like each other, both who want to get into Europe, or in the case of the Milans, win the Scudetto. The pre-match talk has been relatively quiet, with Ranieri insisting he's not out for personal revenge, and Del Piero and Mr. Totti complimenting each other so much I wasn't sure whether to tear up or vomit. The fact of the matter is, Juventus is in a horrendous downspiral of epic proportions, and while the Inter win maybe meant we could up our game for big matches, the Milan demolition job showed that no...we just hate Inter.
Since I put on the captain band on my arm, before every match I’ve been repeating the same gesture. It is a part of a routine, one of these pre-game rituals that accompany last seconds before the kick-off. Greeting the referee, exchanging pennants, shaking hands with the opposite team captain. Gestures that have become automatic , repetitious, for somebody even superstitious, when you can’t help but think only about what will happen later. But if I stop to think about the value of these moments, it becomes clear that they are far from being banal. Above all on the eve of the match like this one, when on the other side, wearing a captain band on his arm, there’s a player like Francesco Totti.
If we put together our goals scored, they’ll be over 500. If we sum up the years of career, wearing the same shirt – it comes up to 35. A life.
The same could have been said about my games against Paolo Maldini. I’m sure that the concept of the flag, of the society symbol, of the team, and of the supporters doesn’t exist if then you don’t fill every day with contents on and off the pitch. That’s why for me it has always been and it is still an honor to meet players like these. Francesco and I were team mates in the National team, and I want to stress it out, team mates and not rivals. We are very different, but we have also a lot of things in common. We won the World Championship together and those memories unite us forever. But with our clubs, we were, we are and we will always be opponents.
That’s why I think that the champion can become stronger also by meeting great opponents on his way. And that’s why I’ll be happy tomorrow to shake hands with Francesco.
Ps. On this occasion we put up a video on Adp tv, that has become You Tube cult. If I think back, I can’t help, but laugh… Do you remember, Francesco?
Totti- "Alessa, how did the..."
Del Piero laughs at how Totti pronounces his name
Totti- "Alessa, how did the test go?"
Del Piero- "Bad, pretty bad. I turned in the whole thing blank."
Totti- "Me too. Now they're going to think we cheated!"
RECENT ENCOUNTERS: For the last few years, we have done nothing but kick Roman ass all over the place. We had some pretty good wins over Milan, too, like the 3-2 win thanks to Brazzo, or the 4-2 thrashing where we could have scored 2 more. Milan got their revenge. Roma will certainly be looking to avenge the numerous numerous defeats we've been handing them.
RECENT FORM: Ranieri has done an exceptional job since taking over at Roma, and I cannot say I am that surprised. As many of you know, I was quite a bit of a Ranieri fan during his time at Juve and I thank him for a job well done. That said, while I didn't agree with canning him with two days to go, parting ways with him this summer was the right decision for us, and for dear 'ole Claudio, who is now happily leading his hometown team. After a shaky start, Ranieri has seemingly undone all of the negative parts of Spalletti's reign- the indiscipline, the mental weakness, and has instilled a good tactical spirit in the team. They are in good form, and after a weak start to the championship, are sitting pretty in 3rd place. We are in 5th, although if you consider the last 10 weeks of Serie A, we'd probably be battling relegation.
FORMATIONS AND LINEUPS:
Juventus- Take a deep breath everyone. Missing for the match are Caceres, Melo, Iaquinta, Camoranesi, Trezeguet, Poulsen, Giovinco, even little Luca Marrone. It gets even better- Grygera, Legrottaglie, Sissoko, Grosso, Marchisio, and Diego have had various minor injuries this week and all have been called up, though they are not fully fit. Yago, Candreva, Paolucci, and Giandonato are the new faces in the squad.
In defense, I would hope Legrottaglie and De Ceglie would cover for Cannavaro and Grosso, but I expect both of them to start. Salihamidzic and Zebina are available, so Ferrara has some options in the fullbacks. In midfield, I'm expecting due to injury decimation that Candreva will get a start against the club he was a fan of growing up, flanked by hopefully Sissoko and Marchisio. Up top, Amauri will probably start and will probably be worthless yet again. I'd much rather see Paolucci-ADP up top.
Preferred XI: Buffon; Grygera, Legrottaglie, Chiellini, De Ceglie; Marchisio, Sissoko, Candreva; Diego; ADP, Paolucci
Predicted XI: Buffon; Grygera, Cannavaro, Chiellini, Grosso; Marchisio, Sissoko, Candreva; Diego; ADP, Amauri
What once was...
Roma: Roma is not actually missing 1/2 their squad, somehow Ranieri's arrival has decreased the amount of injuries they've had, which were Ranieri-esque under Spalletti. Confused? Me too. According to the ever-reliable Goal.com-
Predicted XI: Julio Sergio, Cassetti, Burdisso, Juan, Riise; Pizarro, De Rossi; Taddei, Perrotta, Vucinic; Toni
So they don't expect Totti to start. I do though, his presence in the team is more than just his playing skills. Ranieri has done a good job reviving Taddei, Perrotta, hell, even Cassetti isn't the disaster he normally is. Toni has quickly adapted to his new team, but that shouldn't surprise anyone. Luca is Luca, and even if he is a piece of shit with the Nazionale, he's always been reliable at the club level and I said he was a great piece of business for Roma. That said, he's still awfully slow and I don't care how many goals he scores, he better not be going to South Africa. We've made him the focal point of the Azzurri attack two consecutive tournaments, and he has done little aside from disappoint.
PREDICTIONS: 2-1 to Roma. Sucks, I know.
WORDS FROM FERRARA:
The match against Roma is around the corner, but during the press conference held on the eve of the match, the interest of the journalists was not so much on the technical aspects of the match. The rumours of other coaches who are candidates for the Juventus bench, the distant duel between Ferrara and Ranieri and the sacking of the current Roma caoch were the topics on which Ferrara was interviewed mostly.
Training behind closed doors
«Juventus is one of the few teams that allows people to watch the training sessions but this week I wanted to have a bit of privacy. In recent years the doors were always open but in certain circumstances the coach might feel the necessity to try something without giving an ulterior advantage to his opponents and to work solely with the team».
The meeting with the management
«It was a serene one and several aspects were analysed always with the common objective of coming out of this situation».
The statement by Hiddink’s agent about contact with Juventus
«I believe more in the words of the President who repeatedly told me he had made no contact at all. It is not the first time that agents and coaches make certain statements. Surely, I would have never refused such an offer... In this situation anybody can take advantage to sponsor somebody or other. It is spoke about every day of how Ferrara’s bench is at risk and who could replace him, sometimes perhaps unfairly. Even if there were contacts with a coach or other it wouldn’t matter».
Ranieri’s sacking last year
«I was a Juventus player for many years and when I stopped playing I began my career as the person responsible of the Youth Sector and today I am the Juventus coach. What I care about is that the team reaches certain levels. I think nobody could ever think that in that circumstance I was aspiring for the bench. I remember when I was called for the last two matches. My name had been mentioned but I did not wish Ranieri harm. It is not in my character to do so. Obviously, I was happy when they called me. There were rumours that I had spoken badly of Ranieri but this is not the case and I am sorry that this sort of news was diffused. I saw what happened to Ranieri from the outside since I was taking care of other things and therefore I have no idea what went on in the dressing rooms and what Ranieri’s relations with the management were like. I will have the chance to see him on Saturday and I will say hello in a cordial manner. Don’t forget that he was my coach at Napoli and I think we have a mutual respectful relationship. Surely, I have nothing to clarify or justify myself for. I was involved only by others and I do not want this match to be seen as some sort of duel between me and Ranieri. Surely, on his part there will be a bit of heart feelings but neither me nor him will be playing. It is the players who will be on the field to play in such a delicate match».
«If he was signed by Juventus it is because he showed great quality. He has a clear mind and I tried to explain to him that wearing this jersey is important and difficulty especially for a youngster. We also spoke of technical aspects and he seems to know football. He can interpret various roles and has already done so with Livorno: against us he played as trequartista but against Napoli he was fielded in front of the defence. He can also play on the inside and I tried him out in that position. I don’t think he would unbalance us because technically he is also ready for phases without ball possession and sacrifice. He times his exits well and is capable of playing in 3-strong midfield».
«Momo is ready to play. The important thing is that he does not have problems. He overcame the problem he had and is available. He is important for immense physical strength and also for the intensity he puts into training. He is of a stimulus to the whole group».
The match against the giallozozzi
«Roma is going through an excellent moment, but I prefer playing against these type of teams who play with enthusiasm. We want to interrupt their positive streak. We must try to get back on track and return to running without looking at the table. It is difficult to do so seeing that the margin is even greater at the moment. This should be an ulterior motive».
Juventus and Roma: two different trails
«I did not bother with looking at the trail of the opponents but certainly I would not have expected such an important change of tendency on our part. I knew we would have encountered certain difficulties, but not to this extent».
Toni reborn with Roma
«Football is strange: there are players for whom it is enough to change place and immediately they do better. Toni is an example just like Tiago (who scored his first goal for Atletico Madrid), to whom I send my best regards».
Whatever happens.......never be ashamed to be a Bianconero! Forzaaaaaaaaaa Juve!!!