ROME – «Leo, are you ready? We are waiting for you, we need you since that Wembley night“. “No mister, thanks, I still prefer to recover because I’m not at the top and I find it fair to say it“. The reconstruction of the interview between Roberto Mancini and Leonardo Spinazzolawhich explains the lack of call-up in blue, is a useful support to understand the delicate moment that the strongest left-back of Euro 2021 is going through. Spinazzzola, very honest in calling himself out of the national team, he is often playing in Romeindeed almost always, but he does not even seem to resemble the elusive footballer of the period before the injury.
It could only be so, though. Don’t panic. Because Spinazzola has experienced the worst misfortune that can happen to an athlete, the total rupture of the Achilles tendon. The Finnish surgeon who operated on him in Turku last summer, Lasse Lempainen, had to completely reconstruct the tissue, then asking for at least eight months to ensure complete healing. However the tendon never regains full efficiency: it is not the case of Spinazzola, it is the case of everyone. And for this you need a little patience before seeing Spinazzola dart and dribble as before. Mourinho also knows this, who is insisting on him for a double need: the immediate one, in the absence of Zalewski who had several physical problems in this tail of summer, and the one in perspective, because the best version of Spinazzola is a fundamental requirement for a top Rome. Something similar happened last year with Nicolò Zaniolo, who repaid the wait with the most important goal of the season, in the final in Tirana.
Roma hopes that history will repeat itself with Spinazzola. In this sense, the player’s determination can accelerate the ascent path. “I am sure that I will return to one of the world leaders in my role – he said in the summer – I got a phoenix tattoo on me because I too have risen after a difficult period“. The last step is missing, even psychological, to feel free to dare again.
Mourinho, the ballot
In the meantime though the return of Zalewski may allow Mourinho to alternate the outsiders. After the break, the game will start again every three to four days and the contribution of the alternatives will be decisive. Zalewski, now cured of muscle fatigue, has left to reach his Poland but will return to Trigoria on the 27th, four days before Inter-Roma, after having challenged Wales in a Nations League match in Cardiff. He should therefore be in a position to play at San Siro too. But even if Mourinho insisted on Spinazzola in the league, Zalewski would play the following Thursday in the Europa League against Betis. With the turnover both will have the opportunity to always be athletically brilliant.
Sign up for the Corriere dello Sport Fantasy Championship: Mister Calcio CUP