Corriere dello Sport (Guido D’Ubaldo) Mario Rui is back. The Portuguese has been training with the Primavera since last week and is continuing to make good progress. His competitive debut for the Giallorossi is expected to be on Saturday 26th, when he will play for Alberto De Rossi’s team – who are 2nd in the table, some way behind Atalanta – against Bologna in their 9th league match. It will be the first step towards returning to the first team and Spalletti, who agreed with De Rossi on Wednesday that he could play the defender. If he follows the same path as Rudiger, who also returned to action with the Primavera before being called up to the first team squad, he may be selected for the following game in Serie A, which is the derby on 4th December. The full back, who had a cruciate ligament operation on 1st August, is continuing to make a quick recovery. His next test, on 26th November, will mean that the Primavera will have to pay on a grass pitch [rather than synthetic] as a result. If he doesn’t make the derby, then Mario Rui will be called up for the first team’s following game on Monday 12th December, when they play Milan at the Olimpico.
The defender, who was signed at Spalletti’s request, is desperate to play again; Roma have had to slow him down. He can’t wait to return and has sweated blood in the last few months, and now feels ready to finally start his Giallorossi adventure. Mario Rui is closer to a return than Nura, another full back who underwent a knee operation earlier in the year. The Nigerian has had a few problems in the last few days and has had to slow down his recovery. Spalletti is waiting for his return as well, as he is convinced that he can be an excellent option for the right back role. However, after Digne’s forced departure, Mario Rui was the left back that Spalletti specifically chose to replace him at the significant cost of €9m. The Portuguese has been a big loss for Roma since he sustained his injury at the end of July during the US tour, as neither Juan Jesus nor Emerson, who have both been tried in the left back role, have been a viable alternative.
In the meantime, Francesco Totti was doing some extraordinary things yesterday when the first team were supposed to be having a day off. Instead of taking the day off, he trained together with the injured players and spent a long time in the gym. He has had a slight hip problem in the last few days, but it seems to be improving and he should be selected for the trip to Bergamo, where he scored last season to secure a 3-3 draw and thus set out on the path towards his contract renewal.
There is a feeling of optimism in the Giallorossi dressing room. Wojciech Szczesny returned to Trigoria with the happiness and pride of having worn the captain’s armband for his national team during the international break. The Pole is convinced that Roma can hurt Juventus this season. “We have confidence in our ability and we have to try and continue this positive run. We can catch up with Juve. We aren’t here to fight for second place, we always want to try and win, whether it’s in the league or the Europa League. Juve are the favourites, but we won’t give up and we’ll make life difficult for them.” Antonio Rudiger, who has now got his place in the first team back, is also fully focused on Roma. “We can’t think about Juventus. We just have to win all our games against the weaker teams.”