Gerson, Roma’s new Brazilian signing caused quite a stir this week after posting a picture of himself holding his new team’s shirt on Twitter.
The reason? The shirt bearing his name also contained the number 10 – currently Roma’s most sacred shirt which belongs to Francesco Totti.
Gerson’s picture caused outrage amongst a large number of Romanisti who took it as a sign of disrespect towards their favourite son and captain.
Gerson, an attacking midfielder, will only be joining up with the Italian side in January, at which point Totti will be 39 years old, and fans took this as a sign that the club’s hierarchy have already decided that their new 18 year old will replace Totti and inherit his famous number 10, despite not yet playing a single minute.
The paranoia was fuelled by the fact that Roma beat European champions Barcelona to the young Brazilian’s signature, paying a reported €17 million to Fluminense, and a conspiracy gathered.
So much so that Roma’s director of football Walter Sabatini, who was first praised for the capture of the young starlet, took to Radio Rome to quash the gathering fan and media lynching after the Twitter post:
I personally sent him [Gerson] the [number] 10 to tease him, motivate him. Nobody wanted to offend anyone, but enough of this story; it’s unbearable. Roma cannot be victims of ambushes by newspapers.
Can Gerson replicate Totti? Nobody will ever be able to.
I am the only one responsible for the fact that this child [Gerson] has the number 10. I did it to get him for a team that, maybe, in some time, will lose its best champion.
Gerson Santos Da Silva (to give him his full name) has drawn comparisons to James Rodriguez amongst others, and due to Roma’s current amount of non-EU players, will remain with Fluminense until 2016 where he’s partnering Ronaldinho in the line-up. Until then, the Giallorossi waits.