Writer: Boxer & QPR Italia
Date:Monday October 6 2008
QPR Italia runs the rule over Rangers latest addition, indicating Damiano Tommasi is thought of very fondly in his home nation.
The signing up of Damiano Tommasi provoked much interest in Italia, because he left only happy and spotless memories.
He's always been a beloved and esteemed player not only by 'his' A.S. Roma's supporters, but also by other teams' fans.
His nickname is 'Noble Soul' and becomes from the way he has conducted his life, helping people in trouble. A practising Catholic, he directly administers finance, or indirectly helps countless philanthropic organisations; when he plays he always does it with respect and fair-play.
In Italy he caused a sensation when he renewed his contract with A.S. Roma in 2005 for 1500 Euros per month (the minimum wage), but to better understand that decision, we have to take a step back to July 2004.
He was playing for Roma in a friendly match v Stoke City and an horrific tackle by Gerry Taggart caused Damiano a major breakdown of almost all the right knee structure.
Because of that accident, he couldn't play any of the following season's matches, and it was the last year of his agreement with Roma. When he was called by Roma's management to discuss next year contract, he refused to get the 'top player' salary they proposed him and he asked and got the minimum wage to repay the team that cured him and the always supporting fans. I doubt exists another player who's done anything similar...
When he got back playing in October 2005 was greeted by a standing ovation of all the fans, Roma's and rival's. Other standing ovations followed him in every Italian stadium.
However, his career began with some difficulties. A ball winning midfielder, able to run all 90 minutes of a match from side to side of the field, he hasn't got those technical skills that Roma's fans wanted for 'their' midfield. His early years in Roma (he arrived there in 1994 when he was 22) were hard and full of disappointment, and Roma's general situation played its part, unable to aim for the 'Scudetto'.
Tommasi, however, never gave up and was always in the starting team despite the turnover of many coaches, finally being an anchor in now England manger Fabio Capello`s 2001 title winning Roma side, playing with Emerson, Totti and Batistuta.
With the 'Azzurri', Italian National Team, he won the Under 21 European Championship in 1996, he took part in the Olympic Games of Atlanta and the World Championship in Japan/Korea always present in the starting team.
He's spent two years in Spain with Levante. The R`s have signed an experienced and useful player who will surely be an example, on and off of the field, for all team mates, especially for the younger and inexperienced ones. If he'll be physically good, it will be hard for Dowie keep him out of team!
The news of his signing with R's had a great attention on our media and when Damiano went to Rome to salute his old team mates before leaving for London, he found there a lot of fans chanting the old songs they chanted for him years ago.
He's always been reserved and didn't say anything to the Italian correspondents but the reason he choose his shirt number, 18: '17 was occupied, so I choose the one I had when I played with Roma and in the Serie A debut.' His manager too is a man of few words and only said that QPR took up an option for a potential contract extension that probably, in perfect Damiano's style, won't be very expensive: 'Good sense prevailed, now we'll see the outcome, 'cause Damiano has an option to stay in London next year too.'
From his personal site his first words as a QPR player were: 'And so begins my new adventure, in a new Country, a new Championship. I'm very pleased by the opportunity I have and I hope I'll be able to show on the ground the enthusiasm I put the first time that once more push me to start again.'
Italian fans are unanimous in saying: 'good signing up for QPR!'
Many thanks to Francesco and Alberto of QPR Italia.
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