GianlucaDiMarzio.com (Francesco Pietrella) WANTED: A STRIKER. “Everyone was injured, I was playing in midfield and they tried playing me up front”. The rest is history. “They haven’t moved me back yet…” Here’s to chance, to destiny, to good fortune. “I have to thank Roberto Muzzi, it was an excellent idea of his”. Earlier today, he showed it to be that and more.
Today, Edoardo Soleri crushed Lazio with a true centre forward’s performance (Roma won 5-0 and qualified for the semi-final of the Coppa Italia). He scored a hat-trick, celebrating in his usual style: “I got the idea from Harden, he’s a basketball player who I’m a huge fan of. I don’t mind copying him, it looks good.” He is an avid NBA fan and stays up until the early hours of the morning to watch his favourite team. “I’m a Cleveland fan!”
However, it’s football that he’s been obsessed with since he was a young boy. “I started playing when I was 5 years old, very young.” Not in Rome though, but actually in Brazil. “My dad worked there, I remember we used to play on the beach in Rio de Janeiro. Once I bought a Brazil shirt with Ronaldo 9 on the back.” There was clearly a Latin influence on the young Soleri’s childood.
Eventually he returned to Italy and Rome. His father went to Turin to work for Fiat, but he stayed in the capital with his mother. A choice made with the heart that became a life choice, a career choice, because not long after he joined a new team and his dream continued. At the Galeotto tournament, he was spotted by Roma, who then signed him up. He played with the Allievi, Primavera and trained with the first team, finally making his debut in the Champions League against BATE Borisov. “It was a unique feeling, indescribable.” He almost couldn’t believe it. “The day after, I thought I’d been dreaming and the game was later that night.”
Alberto De Rossi and Rudi Garcia had a part to play in his path to the first team, as did Roberto Muzzi, the man who started it all off with his inspired idea. “When they gave me the squad list, he was listed as a midfielder. I didn’t need him, because there were enough midfielders already. But when I told him to try playing up front, he said no…”
Soleri quickly changed his mind though and he smiles about it now. He thanks Muzzi, as does his mother, who has done the hard yards for her son. “She has made a lot of sacrifices so she can take me out to Trigoria and back. She waits for hours on her own in the car.” Highlander.
His idol? “Dzeko”. Although he adds that he also takes inspiration from Toni and studies Lewandowski closely. The results have been excellent, and his record this season speaks for itself: 15 appearances, 17 goals (11 in the league, 3 in the Youth League, 3 in the Coppa Italia). He’s already scored more than the 8 he got 2 seasons ago and the 14 he registered last season, where he played a major role as the Primavera won the league. He’s already added another trophy to his trophy cabinet this season, winning the Supercoppa as Roma put 4 past Inter. Bomber.
He is the tall centre forward in the Primavera’s 3-man attack, and uses his strength to get past opposition defenders. He’s good both in the air and with his feet, and is quick as well. Born in 1997, he is now in his final year in the Primavera – next season he will have to make the step up to the senior level. He has the personality and the character to do so though, and has already shown that. Now he’s dreaming of his first appearance in Serie A. “That’s one of my aims, I’d like to follow in Florenzi’s footsteps”. That’s his dream. Today, scoring a hat-trick in the derby should make him happy enough.