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Champions of the champions of England

Stephan El Shaarawy – REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini

I reckon this guy’s onto something…

They used to say that if you win the World Cup three times you got to keep it. FIFA has ruled this out lately, obviously having learned a valuable lesson from the unfortunate incident when the original Jules Rimet trophy was stolen and melted down after being entrusted with Brazil.

But never mind that, I propose a new rule in the spirit of the old one – if you score three unanswered goals against the Champions of England in the Champions League, you should get to keep them.

The trouble is, we don’t really want Chelsea on its own… It’s a bit, you know, Tory…

So I’m sorry but I have to take this a step further.

Now that we’ve beaten the champions of their country to become champions of their country it follows perfectly logically that we should get to keep England. We won them fair and square.

We promise to take good care of them – better care of them than they are taking of themselves (Brexit WTF?) and we even pinky swear that we will do a better job than the last time we ran the place – in the fifth century AD. We could even have Boris Johnson melted down too if it would sweeten the deal…

Yes, it’s true, I enjoy it a little bit too much on the rare occasion that my team triumphs over English opposition. It’s always special.

For starters, just playing against any English opponent comes with some nice fringe benefits:

  • You get to hear score updates on the radio sports news while driving to work – because only the English clubs matter to this country’s mainstream media…
  • Other people in New Zealand watch it – this can be a bad thing when we have a shocker but yesterday it was certainly a plus!
  • You are guaranteed to be able to watch with English language commentary – my Albanian has improved markedly since the last Serie A TV deal that meant most of the English speaking world can’t watch it legally.

And then when we win, everybody learns something!

For example, yesterday’s win over Chelsea taught us that:

  • Italian teams play quite nice football, thank you very much.
  • Italian teams can score nice goals – how many was it again? Oh yeah, three.
  • The EPL isn’t “ZOMG SO FAST AND FURIOUS” that Fazio can’t possibly keep up. Two words – clean and sheet.

It wasn’t just the Inglese that learned a thing or two, either. Roma fans have started to come around to realise their early season hot takes weren’t so hot either. For example, here is a non-exhaustive list of people who weren’t supposed to be good enough to grace the eternal city:

  • Eusebio Di Francesco – Almost everyone (not me, so there) doubted he was up to it but he’s gone about his business with a no fuss style that contrasts favourably with his predecessor. I still love you Spalletti, but I don’t miss all your constant dramas. Antonio Conte is supposed to be a tactical genius while Di Francesco is meant to be a tactically naïve poor man’s Zdeněk Zeman… Um, guess again!
  • El Shaarawy –Virtually nobody wanted to sign him (except me, so there) – now I would bet my Mohawk that if Italy is going to the World Cup so is he.
  • Alisson – wasn’t thought good enough (not by me, so there) after serving out last season as Szczęsny’s understudy – now he’s batting away thunderbolts for fun and happens to be the first choice keeper of the Brazilian national team.
  • Fazio – Couldn’t foot it in the “BESTEST FASTEST LEAGUE IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD” – (not by… ok, I was sceptical too) but he was an absolute beast last season and has barely put a foot wrong this season.
  • Dzeko – Still has his doubters despite being shortlisted this year for some minor little trinket they give out like free papadums at your local curry joint… what’s it called again? Oh yeah, the Ballon d’Or.
  • The Roman defence – Everyone says they are crap, and I have to put my hand up and accept some guilt on this, but wahey they are now the most stingy defence in Serie A!

Oh yes, life is good.

Categories: Roma/Italian Calcio

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.

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