Thursday, April 12, 2007

'Stunned, destroyed, humiliated'

Tom Kington in Rome
Thursday April 12, 2007
The Guardian

Italy's front-page headline writers struggled yesterday to sum up the scale of Manchester United's 7-1 Champions League slaughter of Roma.

"A historic rout for Italian football," screamed the football daily La Gazzetta dello Sport, while La Repubblica led a front page editorial with "Goodbye dreams, Roma humiliated in Manchester." La Stampa ran the more succinct "Roma Hell", beaten for brevity only by Il Messaggero's "Oh No".

Sports reporters scrambling to find a worse defeat for an Italian side in European competition needed to go back to Juventus's 7-0 humbling at the hands of Austria's Wiener SK in 1958. "I do not recall such an apocalyptic quarter-final or such a devastating first half," wrote La Stampa's Roberto Beccantini, adding that Roma were "stunned, then swept away, then destroyed, then humiliated."

Looking ahead, La Repubblica worried what Cristiano Ronaldo, scorer of two goals on Wednesday night at Old Trafford, might unleash on the "dinosaurs" in the Milan defence were he to confront them in the semi-final.
Contending with Ronaldo's dribbling, the Roma players "looked like car-sick kids who vomit their elevenses at the first sharp curve", the paper wrote.

Francesco Totti, christened "Captain Disaster" by La Gazzetta Dello Sport and accused by La Repubblica of going missing on big nights, described it as the saddest night of his life. "Describing each goal would just be sadistic," wrote Corriere della Sera, going on to quote the Roma coach, Luciano Spalletti, who was rather less reticent.

"Every shot finished in the back of the net," he said incredulously, adding: "What would I change if I could do it again? Stay at home."


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