Friday, April 22 nd, 2016
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Hässler, the dwarf
Who enchanted the child
How the German winger became my first idol
by Federico Formica
You can never forget your first love. For me, it had blond hair and it was 1,60 m tall, more or less. And it had a good dribbling and a paint brush in place of the right foot, especially when there was a free kick to shoot.

You can't expect a child to fall in love for real: I'm talking about a German player born in Berlin, a world champion and – some years later – European champion with Germany's national team. He was my first idol in giallorosso.

When my father took me and my brother  to the stadium for the first time (Roma-Cremonese 3-0 (2 Voeller, Aldair, 1991-'92 season), I think I stared at Thomas Hässler most of the time. When I wasn't looking at him, I looked at the other tifosi, their faces bent by the anxiety. I was 9 years old and I didn't understand so much about that match, and I missed one goal because I was not looking at the pitch at that moment. For me Thomas Hässler was important for many reasons. First of all he personified the kind of player that I would want to be: agile, speedy and a master in shooting free kicks. For me, the free kick was an art. When I played football at the pitch outside of the church or at school, every time there was a free kick to shoot I grabbed the ball and, while and I was placing the ball at the exact point where the foul was committed, I imagined everything in my mind. The coats were the real posts, and the crossbar really existed, it was'ot only an idealistic line; I was wearing the As Roma jersey and in front of me there was the Curva Sud, that (obviously) adored me.

But I also loved Hassler because he came from Juventus, one of the biggest rivals of As Roma. Only a few years ago I discovered that Hassler was a total failure in bianconero. But at nine years old I didn't know that. I had a different view: As Roma snatched a top player from la Vecchia Signora, the most famous Italian team in the world. And Hassler left the Evil embracing the Good and the Righteous. How could you not love him? It was impossible. According to the stats Thomas Hässler played 88 times for As Roma scoring 11 goals. For me he was the real, first number 7 of As Roma. Later, other number 7 dressed the giallorossi shirt, but no one of them was the same as the little blond illusionist.

Sunday, August 25 th, 2013
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