Watching Italy draw 1-1 with Paraguay the other night was a funny little affair. The BBC lot wouldn’t stop harping on about how old the Italian team was (despite having an average age of something like 28), whilst they couldn’t get their heads around it ACTUALLY RAINING in South Africa. Despite it being winter and despite it being right near the sea.
So, Italy were poor-ish. Paraguay played for the draw. Thing is, I thought I’d be here writing about Italy’s combative midfield general – Gennaro Gattuso – but it turns out he’s been pipped to a FwB post by Capitan Futuro aka Daniele De Rossi.
He’s spent all of his professional footballing career at AS Roma, playing over 200 games, and is one of Italy’s brightest and most hard-working individuals. He’s the type of box-to-box midfielder most teams dream of, and is one of the country’s standout players in recent years (winning Italian Footballer of the Year in 2009) as the likes of Totti and Del Piero are cast aside on the international stage.
I’ve always admired the passion and determination he usually plays with for both club and country, and on Monday looked like Italy’s most dangerous player (alongside maybe Pepe). The straight-red card he got for elbowing Brian McBride in the last World Cup aside, he’s a relatively focused player.
However, ability aside, he’s rarely caught my attention. Pretty standard footballer to be honest. stereotypically ‘beautiful’ (now ex-)wife? check. Adoring fanactical club support? check. Pretty handsome pay packet? check. thick face of beard? che…GAH…WHAT?! A beard?!
If anyone wants to enhance their status somewhat on The World’s Biggest Stage, surely it’s to grow a beard? ESPN seem to think Onyewu has grown his as some sort of bet, not shaving until the USA reach the next round. Do we at FwB think De Rossi has done the same? Surely not. We hope not, at least. The last thing we want players doing is trivializing the beard-growing, as some sort of LADS!BANTER!-type affair, with the players in question getting rinsed for having the desire to stand out from the crowd.
Anyhow, De Rossi doesn’t look like he’d take much LADS!WAHAY!BANTER!, and plus, I’m sure he spends most of his time hanging with the ol’ boys – Pirlo and Gattuso. Maybe with a beard, they’ll (and we’ll) take him a little more seriously.