EXCLUSIVE: The ex-Giallorossi ace feels the Bosnian has a crucial role to play in Sunday’s Serie A game in Turin, though he also warned his old club that Carlos Tevez is “on fire”
By Marco Terrenato
Miralem Pjanic has the potential to become Roma’s version of Andrea Pirlo, according to Italian Players Union (AIC) president Damiano Tommasi.
The Giallorossi travel to Turin on Sunday for a mouth-watering Serie A showdown with the Bianconeri, with both sides boasting 100 per cent records after the first five rounds of the season and locked together at the top of the table.
While Pirlo’s participation remains in doubt, given he has only just recovered from a hip problem, Pjanic is a certain starter for Roma, something that Tommasi feels is crucial to the capital club’s hopes of victory.
“I believe that the most decisive player for Roma could be Pjanic,” the former Italy international told Goal. “In my opinion, the Bosnian can become the Pirlo of Roma.
“For example, against Parma last month, Pjanic decided the game with a free-kick, just as Pirlo has so often done for the Bianconeri in recent years.
“Against Verona last Sunday, Pjanic didn’t have the opportunity to unblock the game but maybe he will have to do it on Sunday against Juventus, especially if it’s a finely-balanced game.”
Juventus, of course, have a number of potential winners themselves, with the likes of Arturo Vidal, Paul Pogba and Alvaro Morata all set to feature, Tommasi is in no doubt about which Bianconeri player Roma will have to worry about most.
“Here, there’s no debate,” the former Giallorossi midfielder stated. “In this moment, Tevez is the driving force behind the Bianconeri.
“He has been the man on fire in the Juventus attack in their perfect championship up until now.”
Juve beat Roma home and away on their way to winning the Scudetto last season, ultimately finishing 17 points clear of the Stadio Olimpico side with a record haul of 102.
However, Tommasi does not believe that the 2013-14 campaign will have any bearing on Sunday’s crunch clash in the capital.
“This Roma don’t seem to me to be a team that think about games gone by,” he argued.
“Garcia and his players live only at the present and they already know that they are capable of playing for the Scudetto right until the end of the season, regardless of the result of the game at Juventus Stadium.
“Therefore, I don’t consider this game a true examination, but we can say that for the Giallorossi it will be a little test to see if the difference between the two sides from last season has already been made up.
“My feeling is that it has, but we will have a better idea after Sunday.
“Regardless, I believe that we will see a really good game. Especially if the two teams manage to play their usual games, without too much pressure.
“We are just at the sixth matchday and the two teams have won every game until now, so they can gamble freely.”