Each week Tim mixes tales of his experiences of living in Italy with comments on the past week’s major talking points whilst also looking ahead to the coming weekend’s biggest games. Enjoy…
In recent weeks the poor form of Milan striker Marco Borriello has been blamed, at least in the Italian media, on a more inventive reason than the usual limited playing time, niggling injuries, or lack of support. This time, the Rossoneri tifosi can put the blame on a young lady, currently living on a desert island in Honduras. The former Genoa front-man’s girlfriend, Belen Rodriguez, has been taking part on the TV show “L’Isola dei Famosi”, Italy’s version of “I’m a celebrity, get me out of here”. If that wasn’t enough, there is now a high profile debate over whether or not Belen, an Argentine model, was having an affair with a fellow islander, a theory most propelled by the Italian politician, who also takes part, Vladimir Luxuria, who, by the by, is the first Italian transvestite member of parliament. The “couple” involved deny the rumours, whilst Borriello claims he doesn’t watch the programme as it bores him. There may well be a heated discussion or two when she finally leaves the island.
Roma have had a poor season so far by anyone’s standards. Excuses could have been, and were made about injuries (Totti), and players still to arrive (Baptista), but little changed in the short term. The odd great display in the cup will not make up for the lack of points, and the fact that now it seems nearly impossible that can reach the top 4 by the end of the season.
Meanwhile, almost equally as painful, they have had to watch Rome’s other half Lazio, taking the league by storm, and flirting with the top of the league. Indeed, for the Biancocelesti, the revelation of Mauro Zarate had propelled them up the league in the first weeks, and these have been added to by the returning Tomasso Rocchi. There seems no reason why Rome’s other side can not take their rivals place in the Champions League come May.
And so the stage is set for the Giallorossi to reverse the trend of the season, and in a spectacular way. Few can doubt that they have the ability to do so, as was seen when they beat Chelsea thanks to an inspired performance from Mirko Vucinic. However, considering recent form, it is those in the light blue that are surely favourites to take significant bragging rights come Sunday night, with 3 wins from their last 3 Serie A ties, compared to Roma’s 0 (1 win in the last 6 league matches). This game could make or break the season for Roma, and a defeat will spur on many of their fans to climb aboard the “sack Spalletti” bandwagon.
Elsewhere this weekend, Inter will need to get 3 points to keep morale within the squad more than anything. The Nerazzurri top the league, but they are less convincing recently than they have been at times this season, and Mourinho will be hoping that they can finally get a comfortable victory, something they have not succeeded in getting for seven games, since they destroyed the aforementioned struggling Roma. An inconsistent Palermo stand in their way on Saturday night.
Napoli will expect to keep their assault on the title on course with a win away to out of form Atalanta, whilst similarly, Milan should defeat Chievo with some ease – although this is exactly the kind of game that Ancelotti’s men often fail to win. Udinese will want to quickly get back to winning ways as they face Reggina at home, while Sampdoria need to continue their first run of form of the season, at home to Lecce.
Lazio will be many peoples favourites come Sunday night, but with the quality on show in the Roma line-up, Spalletti, unlike Borriello, can have no excuses for defeat.