Il Tempo (Alessandro Austini) Everyone’s mad about Dzeko. Including those who called him a flop last season, fogetting that his career spoke – and continues to speak – for itself. He has 28 goals in 34 appearances, a crazy record after his hat-trick against Villarreal, particularly given that there are still 3 and a half months to go this season. Roma are hoping to go all the way on 3 fronts and will be squeezing everything they can out of the Bosnian until the very last moment. The forward has become undroppable for Spalletti, and it will be the same story at the Olimpico tomorrow for the visit of Torino, who not only have many former Roma players in their ranks but also a striker – Belotti – who is chasing down Higuain and Dzeko at the top of the Serie A goalscoring charts.
Il Tempo (Erika Menghi) From the scrapheap to the king of goals. Dzeko has claimed top spot in the Serie A scoring charts, overtaking Mertens, but – not content with that – he has also gone level on 34 points with Aubameyang in the race for the Golden Shoe. The current holder is a certain Luis Suarez who, like Messi, has 2 points less than Edin.
Corriere dello Sport (Alberto Polverosi) They came onto the pitch in purple, they left it beaten black and blue. Roma played some excellent football for an hour against a shell of an opponent. Fiorentina completely fell to pieces and only escaped a defeat of the same magnitude as Bologna’s against Napoli because of some poor finishing (and a few good saves from Tatarusanu). To take just 1 statistic to give a clear indication of just how dominant this 4-0 win was: Spalletti’s team took 16 shots from inside the Viola penalty area. Not even Juventus managed that many against Pescara. By humiliating Fiorentina, Roma once again overtook Napoli to edge closer to Juve, while Dzeko took his place at the top of the Serie A scoring charts in the process. While the Giallorossi celebrated, it was misery for the Viola.
AS Roma Match Program (Tiziano Riccardi) Any time of the week, in any season, this is always a good game. Roma-Fiorentina has become a classic match, almost always full of goals and stylish football, whether it has been in the league, Coppa Italia or the Europa League. In fact, along with Inter, the Viola are the only team who the Giallorossi have faced both domestically and on the European stage. What’s more, at some point Roma have faced Fiorentina on every day of the week, from Monday to Sunday. Whether it was for safety reasons, the vagaries of modern football, or cup schedules, the fact remains that this game has always had a unique place in the football calendar. It’s impossible to mention all the best games in such a small space, but we can revisit some of the biggest here.
Corriere dello Sport (Guido D’Ubaldo) Roma left it until the last possible moment to reach the Coppa Italia semi-final. It needed a penalty from Totti, scored in the 7th minute of injury time, to seal the Giallorossi’s qualification to a two-legged tie against Lazio. Roma made life difficult for themselves against Cesena, who are currently in the relegation zone in Serie B, and were on the verge of going to extra time. Camplone’s team troubled the Giallorossi even in the first half, when they hit the post and created more opportunities than Roma. In the second half, after Dzeko had scored the opener, Garritano scored an equaliser and it took a last minute penalty for Roma to win a game that should have been a gimme. Roma looked distracted, particularly in defence where Manolas was a shadow of the player that has previously played so well this season.
Corriere dello Sport (Francesco Guerrieri) France-Italy, or rather, France-Rome, is a rarely trodden route. Grenier is just the 10th player to arrive in Rome from France. Who was the first? Vincent Candela, who is now an adopted Roman. When he first arrived in the capital in January 1997 though, “it was a shock” as he himself admitted. He was signed from Guingamp by then sporting director Perinetti, and after having issues with Zeman he was a key part of Capello’s team that won the scudetto. He acclimatised well both on and off the pitch, learning both Roman and then Italian from Di Biagio, Petruzzi and Totti. He left the capital after 8 years, but it was only an arrivederci – he returned to the Olimpico in 2009 to mark his retirement from the game. He wanted to retire there, his adopted home, because “Rome and Roma are close to my heart”.
Leggo (Romolo Buffoni) Maybe, like Cinderella’s slipper, size matters. The fact is, recently, players who have worn Roma’s famous number 7 shirt haven’t been able to do it justice. The player who wore it with greatest success was Bruno Conti, who wore it, sweating and toiling, for 16 seasons (either side of his loan spells at Genoa). At the time (the late 1970s to the early 1990s) shirts didn’t have players’ names on, but after winning the 1983 scudetto and 5 Coppe Italia (though he missed out on the European Cup), Roma’s number 7 shirt was practically tattooed on Brunetto’s skin.