“There is only One Captain”. This chant has echoed in all Italian stadiums at least once, it is part of the culture that bonds team’s supporters and their Team’s leader on the pitch, weather the team plays in the Serie A for the league title, or in the minor leagues. The role of Team Captain is one that includes resembling all of those fundamental values and noble beliefs that are a foundation of the sport, whomever is wearing that armband is expected to lead by example and to hold together all those who share the same jersey with the same logo on their chest over their hearts. The ultimate meaning is to be the one that, before everyone else, works for the common goal and always looks to benefit the whole, making sure that what is written on the front of the jersey is always more important than what is written on the back. Not any type of role, but the most important role in Football.
Ask Mattia Almaviva, born in 2006 and playing for AS Roma, about the weight of the armaband that was handed to him personally on a fine evening of May, one that he wore in front of 60 thousand emotional fans, who all committed their life to the one team he is representing, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. A golden flash in a career made of dreams that started a few years earlier in the “Savio” football pitch, and that is following through in Trigoria, Roma’s main training facility. The place where Francesco Totti wrote, and probably will keep on writing one of the most beautiful pages of Italian Football history. The eternal number 10 of Roma, in a memorable evening that no one wanted to come to an end, took off his armband and tied it to Mattia’s arm, who at that moment became the most envied 11 year old in all of Italy.
A gesture moved by destiny, in that same Sunday Roma’s U10 Team was away in Bergamo for a tourament. That made Mattia Almaviva, one of Roma’s most talented players born in 2006, the youngest captain wearing the red and yellow in the history of the Club, right in the middle of the Olimpico Stadium. A player whom, wearing the number 10 Jersey, showed all of his talent and skill already on the 1st of March during a friendly match watched closely by the eyes of President Pallotta, along with the foremost people representing the Italian FA and the Olympic Committee. A display that surely had his name on the mouths of many managers and directors, and put him under the spotlight for years to come.
Mattia’s bag, today, is almost ready. This time he will depart from the Olimpico Stadium all the way to Carole, the destination is the Venice Champions Trophy: a tournament that combines perfectly all the values of football and character. Francesco Totti gave him the captain’s armband as a parting gift, before leaving this beautiful game to the younger ones and facing a different future. Mattia, who’s career has a bright future ahead, has the chance to showcase for the first time in front of the eyes of a world that now envies him, and that is just the beginning.