There’s almost an entire team that can be chosen. Except for a goalkeeper and a left back, every position is covered. It’s a team of young Romans (or, at least, who have been brought through the system at Trigoria) who have left their home during the first six years of the American administration. The latest is Federico Ricci, who has gone to Sassuolo on loan with an option to buy and a counter-option for Roma. Will he ever return to Trigoria, having made his debut for his hometown club? It’s unlikely, for now.
Sassuolo has in fact been an ideal place to send young Roma players. It began with the defenders Frascatore and Antei, and more recently top quality youth products, destined for an illustrious career, have followed: Matteo Politano is now a starter for them and last season, at the Olimpico, he upset Roma by scoring a goal against them. Among his team-mates is Lorenzo Pellegrini, an Italy Under-21 midfielder, who Sabatini sold a year ago for €1.25m. To buy him back in 2017 he will have to pay around €10m. Roma’s financial situation forced another midfielder who came through Alberto De Rossi’s Primavera, Luca Mazzitelli, to sign for Sassuolo after a splendid campaign in Serie B with Brescia. He didn’t even go back via Rome, because Sabatini already sold him to Angelozzi last January.
The Romanista academy has also found its home in Pescara. Both Gianluca Caprari and Valerio Verre, 23 and 22 years old respectively, both made their debuts in the Europa League in 2011 under Luis Enrique when they were still kids. Roma then let them both go for hardly anything when co-ownership was phased out: Caprari ended up going to blind auction while Verre was signed by Udinese for less than €1m. Caprari has now been signed by Inter, who have left him on loan in Abruzzo for another season, while Verre annoyed his coach Oddo for deciding at the last second that he wanted to stay at Pescara – who previously broke their club record to sign him for €4m.
It’s necessary to add a couple of players to the list who aren’t young players any more: Aleandro Rosi, 29 years old, a Roman from Garbatella who was highly thought of by Spalletti, who once said: “In a couple of years, you will see who Rosi really is…” The promises and expectations weren’t met, given that Rosi never became a top player. But Roma got rid of him frivolously and didn’t get a single Euro for him (in fact, they had to pay him compensation for terminating his contract) in the summer of 2012. Rosi now plays on the flank for Crotone, who have him on loan from Genoa. It has been a similar story for Stefano Okaka, let go for nothing before he started getting call ups to the Italian national team: at 27 years old, he has just been signed by Watford after a fruitful experience at Anderlecht. Walter Mazzarri spent €12m to get him.
Some still have time to be Roma players yet, for instance the freshly crowned Primavera champions. The trequartista Lorenzo Di Livio, son of Angelo, has gone on loan to Ternana, the captain and defender Elio Capradossi has signed for Bari, midfielder Christian D’Urso, among the best players in the league last year, will try to make an impression at Latina. All dreaming of a return ticket to Trigoria.
This article is a translation – the original was written by Roberto Maida for Il Corriere dello Sport.