Corriere dello Sport (Roberto Maida) Time passes, but not for him. Goalkeepers come and go, but Roma are not letting go of such a loyal professional. He has witnessed 2 sets of owners, a lengthy takeover process, and an unending line of players, sponsors and directors going in and out, without ever losing his place in the squad. This morning, Bogdan Lobont begins his 9th season at Trigoria: it might be his last as a player, given that his contract (worth €250,000) expires at the end of it, as well as the fact he will be 40 in 2018, but it is likely that general director Baldissoni will ask him to take up another role with the club.
Lobont is a Romanian Roman. The squad and the city was a life choice for him, and he accepted that he would be back up (then 3rd choice) even though he was still hoping to play a part for his national team. It hardly matters that his last game was 4 years ago and that it was sadly a significant one (the Coppa Italia final on 26th May). He has won over the new team of directors with his exemplary conduct and his friendliness towards the younger members of the team: other than being the 3rd choice keeper, Lobont is a key figure in the dressing room and an excellent advisor for the other goalkeepers, who gratefully accept his suggestions for how to improve.
He has never been Roma’s undisputed first choice, despite a solid history, but he has resisted every time the club have considered selling him. When he arrived at Roma, on the last day of a poor transfer window under Rosella Sensi, he should have been a valid alternative to the Brazilian Doni along with Julio Sergio, who was according to Spalletti “the best 3rd choice keeper in the world”. He has since trained at Trigoria alongside another Brazilian, Artur (now goalkeeper for the reborn Chapecoense), with the eternally young Curci (now on a free transfer, aged 32, after 2 seasons as 2nd choice keeper at Mainz in the Bundesliga), and with Stekelenburg, who he replaced for a short time during the ill-fated 2012/13 season that started with Zeman and finished with Andreazzoli. Stekelenburg, incidentally, is currently with Everton.
Other goalkeepers have disappeared without trace after their time at Roma. Just think of the terrified Uruguayan Goicoechea, who never recovered after his infamous blunder against Cagliari – now he is 2nd choice at Toulouse in France. Things went better for Morgan De Sanctis, Roma’s best keeper for the last 30 years in terms of the average number of goals conceded, who won the league as Monaco’s 2nd choice keeper and has now returned to Trigoria as the team manager. What happens now, now that Szczesny has gone (who left Roma with a heavy heart), remains to be seen. But one thing is for certain: Lobont will still be there, with his ever-present smile. Now that Totti has gone, the only player in the squad who has been at the club longer than he has is De Rossi.