Date:Friday June 13 2008
United knocked Roma out of the Champions League in 2006/07 then proceeded to finish ahead of the Romans in the group stages the following season. We completed the 'hat-trick' by getting past them in the quarter-finals again en route to our victory in Moscow.
After all this I think it's fair to say that we might not be very popular in Rome - well, it's not exactly true as Lazio fans must be grateful for constantly beating their hated arch-rivals. But the other half of the town are certain to lose any sympathy they had towards United as the European Champions snap up their brightest prospect.
Roma have an excellent youth system, the names of Francesco Totti, Daniele de Rossi and Alberto Aquilani are testaments to that. Young Davide Petrucci was another tipped to go on to great things - but he won't do that with Roma now. The 16-year-old striker joins United after Roma refused to offer him anything more than a basic youth deal, worth £16,000 a year. The youngster was reportedly disappointed that they did not give him a better deal and that he hadn't been called up to the first team yet, unlike Francesco Totti at the same age.
"A month ago Roma offered me a contract at the minimum rate, without clarifying whether it would be for three or five years,' he said.
'I asked for a bit of time to think about it, Man Utd had already made their proposal, but Roma only gave me three days and left me out of the squad. To a certain extent they closed the door on me while Man Utd opened a big door."
So, Roma f**** it up royally and are now reduced to fuming as they receive only a nominal compensation of £200,000. Their hands are tied by the Italian regulations which state that no player under 17 years of age may be offered a professional contract. Il Romanista, the local newspaper, blasted United for 'stealing Petrucci from under our noses' and implied that in a few years' time the young forward would be worth a 100 times than what we paid for him.
The question is, will Petrucci become another Rossi or he'll fulfil his potential at Manchester United? Hopefully we do not nurture another young striker for a grateful Villarreal side...
Date:Friday June 13 2008
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