When Brazilian midfielder Rodrigo Taddei scored a goal for Roma, his celebration was to put his hand under his shirt and up to his chest where he would thump it up and down like a heartbeat. This was oh so appropriate because here was a player who was all ticker. He played 221 times for Roma over a nine year spell at the club, and you got the impression that he enjoyed every minute.
He played in just about every position except goalkeeper. Sometimes he was a regular starter, sometimes he wasn’t. Sometimes he came off the bench, sometimes he went months without playing. He never earned massive wages, and he never demanded them. He never uttered a peep of complaint in his entire time at the club that I am aware of. He just did what he was paid to do.
He was a loyal servant. That’s why I was sad when he was let go by the club a month or so ago. There was no need to send him away really. He wanted to stay and he wasn’t hurting anyone. To me, he’s the sort of player who you keep for as long as they want to be there. He could have chosen to be upset about his departure, or he could have chosen to be like 99% of the other professional footballers in the world – treat it like a job and move on. But Rodrigo is different from 99% of other players. He’s a Romanista.
When the first game of the new Serie A season got underway, where was he? He paid to get in like everyone else and stood on the Curva Sud with the ultras.
It’s funny, because I am a bit weird. I have always been a Rodrigo Taddei fan. So much so that two years ago I wrote a 100 word tribute to him for Giancarlo Rinaldi’s blog. But until now, I have been in a very distinct minority on that. The sad reality is he was never properly appreciated by the fans and whenever he was substituted onto the pitch it was inevitably greeted with a crescendo of groans from the Twitteristi, because in their minds he wasn’t quite glamourous enough for us. Not that you would think that now.
After the weekend and his appearance on the Curva, anyone would think that he has always been everyone’s hero! Such is the fickleness of fans.
I will never forget you, Rodrigo, nor everything you did for our club. Grazie mille.
Categories: Roma/Italian Calcio
A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.