AS Ripi crowned 2016/17 XT Italian Champions!
Just 4 days after clinching AS Ripi’s historic 6th XT Scudetto, La Gazzetta dello XT is pleased to provide readers with this exclude interview with Romanista10:
Signore R10, you have done it. AS Ripi are champions of XT Serie A once again. It has been a few days now, but has it really sunk in?
"It is hard to explain the emotional rollercoaster the club experienced this season. We knew going in that we were a strong team and capable to fight on all fronts. Without question, this was our best team entering the championship since my return from retirement and many picked us to win the league. It all seemed to be cursed losing our captain, Florenzi, for the season with an ACL tear. Then Verdi was lost for 3 months…Castan has been out seemingly all season…and now towards the finish line, Rodriguez and Pellegrini are injured. It is a credit to the depth of our roster that we could overcome the injuries."
Tell us about last weekend.
"There was tremendous pressure on us all weekend to win. When you are in 1st place and facing the last place team in the standings, there is simply no acceptable excuse for us to lose. We knew if we ended the season tied with Demandred, we lose the title via tiebreaker, which would be devastating. Things looked very bleak as we played a man down due to injuries and suspensions, then losing Immobile in the warm-ups with illness gave me the sense it simply was not meant to be."
When did you believe?
"We always believe we can win despite the odds. Just 2 weeks ago we only had 8 men on the pitch versus Andrey, but my men were warriors. To win 3-0 against those odds? Simply incredible. But last weekend was different. We felt a black cloud over us….then suddenly, Birsa scored late in the 2nd half and we felt the win coming. When Verdi scored, we thought we had done it but just 5 minutes later, we got word on the sidelines that the goal was ruled an own goal and honestly, hope of a victory was lost. We had to grind out a draw and hope for the best result in Demandred’s match. To be perfectly honest with you, I was already planning ahead for the final match next weekend."
But when did you believe in the title?
"We always believe in the title…always. We are the biggest club in the history of XT fantacalcio and we know who we are. Only trophies are acceptable here. Winning is expected, not hoped for."
When the whistle blew at San Siro and you realized Demandred had been defeated….can you explain the emotions?
"The boys were all watching in the locker room, but I was alone in my private office. I dropped to my knees in relief and exhaustion, but of course, happy! I also made a note reminding me to send a gift and “thank you” note to Josedin (laughs)."
It is probably too soon to ask you this, but this is your record sixth XT Scudetto victory, is it the sweetest?
"Wow. That would be like asking who my favorite child is, if I had children (laughs loudly)!! The first title in 2006 brought the most joy, of course, because it was something we had never done before. The greatest title was the 2008/09 season, clinched on the season’s last matchday on March 23, 2009….the historic comeback to snag the title from Andrey. However, this one is sweetest for one simple reason...after retirement, you never know if you can be what you once were. You feel some doubt, others make you feel old and that you are the past. It is a challenge to prove to all, especially yourself, that age has not caught up with you. And now, it can safely be said…it hasn’t (sly grin)."
Almost two weeks ago, AS Ripi won their 4th XT Coppa Italia, yet there were no celebrations, why?
"Winning the XT Coppa Italia, especially against a quality adversary like Rossonero3 in the Final, is a serious accomplishment. The road to even get to the Final (beating ToniSamp and DelPiero107) was something to be proud of. But this is AS Ripi and the XT Scudetto is the goal. We had to keep our focus and not waste energy celebrating when the ultimate prize was left to play for. Thankfully, we brought home the domestic double. After 5 years, it was long overdue (laughs)!!"
With everything now clinched, what about this weekend?
"This weekend is a celebration. Last season’s champion, Vecchia Signora FC, and this season’s champion face each other with no stress…just the joy of the game, calcio. DelPiero107 is a quality manager and has achieved great success the past few years. As always, it will be an honor to share the pitch with him."
What now for AS Ripi and Romanista10? Is a second retirement on the horizon?
"Not a chance. Winning never gets old and in my opinion, there is more winning left to do……"
XT Champions League (2): 2009, 2010
XT Serie A Scudetto (7): 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2017, 2018
XT Coppa Italia (5): 2008, 2011, 2012, 2017, 2018
XT Supercoppa Italiana (5): 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2017
XT Supercoppa Europa (1): 2010
XT Gala Manager of the Year (2): 2009, 2010
Repeat XT CL Titles - 2009, 2010
3 Consecutive XT Scudetti - 2008, 2009, 2010
11 Straight Victories - 2009