Sunday Mar 26, 2017  
     
 
  25/11/2011: Morning Coffee with... Cathal
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They speak about depth and character when discussing this Lazio and by they, I mean our harshest critics, the monsters of the media who have been forced to admit that this Lazio are a force to be reckoned with. Despite finishing above Juventus, the biancocelesti go into this weekend's game against the Old Lady with many predicting that they could be the ones to end the unbeaten run of the Serie A leaders. The pundits consider Juventus to be Scudetto material. Despite finishing above the bianconeri last season and with the two sides equal in points, nobody expects Lazio to exit this season with the league trophy. However, draws against Milan at the San Siro and Napoli at the San Paolo has given some the faintest glimmer of hope.

As I said, they speak about depth and character. They say Miroslav Klose, one of the most prolific strikers in German footballing history and the World Cup to boot has injected a new mentality into this Lazio. They say Djibril Cissé's tenacity and his never-say-die attitude has fired Lazio up. They say the likes of Abdoulay Konko and Senad Lulic have plugged very visible gaps in the side and that their flexibility offers more to this team. They, our harshest critics are not wrong, but as always, they fail to paint the full picture.

Honestly, this mentality, this depth, this character, whatever you want to call it, I saw it emerge in 2009 when we lifted the Coppa Italia. That achievement has been greatly diminished but in beating Milan and Juventus along the way, we clearly illustrated what we were capable of with the right spirit. There have been many changes since, in coach and in personnel and those periods are now proving to be phases of transition rather than the collapse of a team with promise.

Neglected is the fact that we brought in winners during these phases of transition. Only followers of the Brazilian League had heard of Andre Dias prior to his arrival in Rome but he was a figurehead in Sao Paolo's three successive championship wins. This winning mentality, so to speak, did not invade the grounds of Formello when Miroslav Klose moved in.

Another winner that we sneaked in is Alvaro Gonzalez. Again, outside of South America, few would have known the name before he joined us last season but this gritty, diminutive midfielder has a league title under his belt with Boca Juniors. He is not the type of player who steals the limelight but his work rate and his ability to both attack and defend at will has caught the attention of Lazio fans.

As the season wears on, as Cristian Brocchi inevitably tires out as Francelino Matuzalem inevitably succumbs to injury and as Senad Lulic inevitably loses his confidence, Alvaro Gonzalez will once again slot into our midfield and do a job for us. He could be regarded as another of Lotito's cheap bit-part players but he is arguably the best cheap bit-part player we have ever had. Many would argue that he deserves a regular shot in the first team and given his performances for Uruguay in the Copa America this summer, that might well be a very valid argument. After all, Uruguay won that tournament and he was arguably their best player.

That Copa America campaign partly explains why we have yet to see him feature prominently for Lazio this season. He came back fatigued and having missed pre-season, it would have took him quite a bit lof time to get back up to speed. Edy Reja's comments after Napoli suggests that he thinks Gonzalez is ready and more to the point, he seems ready to make space for him and give him a shot. Alvaro needs it, but more to the point, Lazio needs him. They talk about depth and character... Gonzalez gives us both.

(Cathal Mullan)
 
 
  Comments
 
 
Mario 11/26/2011 11:21:14 AM
Bravo Cathal !
 
Ed 11/26/2011 11:21:11 AM
I agree, Gonzalez could be very valuable in the coming months - he can cover for any of the defensive midfield positions when we pick up injuries or suspensions. He has a similar work ethic to Brocchi and that is one thing that we have needed this season when the performances haven't always been that good but the effort and mentality have been enough to win points. I am sure he will get chances.
 
drazvan 11/26/2011 11:21:07 AM
Great one, i fully agree. Alvaro Gonzalez is a great player and to think that we've paid only 2 mil for him...great deal...if he would play everygame (that is if Brocchi would not play amazing at 35 :) ) I think Gonzalez would be our best player. His bad luck and our luxury is that Brocchi is having one of his best seasons...But Brocchi is 35 and I really hope that Alvaro will stay with us next years...If he stays in 2-3 years he will be our captain.
 
Ben Lally 11/27/2011 12:49:42 AM
Fully agree Cathal couldn't of put it any better.
 
 
 
 
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