14 November, 2007

Obscure South American of the Week Cinco

Name – Alessandro Faiolhe Amantino Mancini a.k.a Mancini

Affiliation - Roma

Reason for coolness – All kinds of awesomeness in the trick department, but it was this hurricane of step-overs and shell of a shot against Lyon in last season’s Champions League that raised eyebrows:

Reason for Obscurity – As ever it’s hard to say, but the fact that he has been so consistently, and criminally, overlooked for the Brazilian national team plays a big part.

Already quite a seasoned performer at 27, Mancini has been wowing Serie A for a good few years now at Roma, but due to various factors, has never really had the exposure of a Ronaldinho or even a Robinho, despite having just as much skill and flair. Originally a wing-back in his native Brazil, Mancini fulfilled his attacking potential when he joined the Italian giants in 2003, and is now regularly cast in free-flowing front 3 for Roma to fully utilize his pace and breathless trickery.

Controversy brewed just last season however, when rumours flew that he had fallen out with club legend, and professional ponce, Francesco Totti, meaning that he would be more than likely shown the backdoor. Despite the purchase of Christian Wilhelmsson as his potential replacement, Mancini stayed on, and continued to produce match-winning performances to delight the fans and put Totti back into his box.

It seems that following the above-mentioned sensational goal against Lyon last season, people seem to have finally recognised Mancini for the talent he is, with Liverpool supposedly sniffing around the lightning winger this past summer, no doubt as a replacement for permanent parolee Jermaine Pennant. Lyon have themselves also shown a keen interest in him, with fellow Brazilian maestros Cris, Fred and Juninho obvious draws, but still his future is undecided. In an unprecedented show of arrogance, Totti demands to be the one Roma player not susceptible to the club’s salary cap, and if they fail to break it for Mancini as well, then it looks like he will be on his way shortly as both Liverpool and Lyon have got the major Reais necessary to tempt him away from Italy.

As much as I love Dunga, and am jealous of his phenomenal wardrobe, he really is missing a trick ignoring Mancini for the national side. Admittedly, finding him a spot in a midfield that already boasts Elano, Kaka and Ronaldinho might not be too easy, but when you look at the rubbish that represents England, surely Dunga can find him a spot on the bench at least. It’s just depressing otherwise.

Anyway, peep for yourself what he has in his locker here -

We agree, Alessandro.

UPDATE: Rumours abound that Mancini has fallen out with Roma's coach, Luciano Spalletti and he may be moving on in January. Both Liverpool and Lyon have asked after his availability and we know who pays better wages between those two. Mancini may prove to be an excellent late Christmas present for the red half of Liverpool.