Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Grazie Rolando

On Sunday night, when Rolando Bianchi walked around the Stadio Olimpico pitch for the final time as a Torino player, it suddenly became difficult to imagine next season without a player who has become synonymous with the club.

As an emotional Bianchi said his goodbyes he reiterated that it was not his desire to leave the club, and whilst he did not say so himself, it is obvious that it was the Toro hierarchy and principally chairman Urbano Cairo who decided not to renew his contract - largely for financial reasons.

It was in his final post match interview that the Torino captain thanked the club for turning him into a man, and whilst the past five years have not been that successful, it would be difficult to find a Torino fan who was not grateful for Bianchi's contribution to the club.

However it was not always this way.

After a brief and unsuccessful spell at Manchester City, Bianchi had the opportunity to join Toro on loan in January 2008, however he decided to sign for Serie A rivals Lazio instead. As fate would have it, his debut for the Biancocelesti came against Torino, and he was sent off only five minutes after coming on as a substitute, having received an extremely hostile reception from the Granata fans who felt the striker had rejected their club.

However, after Lazio failed to sign Bianchi on a permanent basis, Torino finally got their man as he signed for the club in August 2008 for 7 million euros. But despite his arrival, Toro were relegated from Serie A although the big striker did manage an impressive total of nine league goals despite not always being a regular starter.

The following season was undoubtedly Bianchi's most impressive in a Torino shirt as he almost single-handedly dragged the team into the Playoff final by scoring an incredible 26 goals. Brescia, the opponents in that final went to extreme lengths to get try and get him suspended for the second leg, by claiming that he blasphemed during the first leg - a serious offence in Italy. Despite failing in their attempt to get the Torino captain suspended for the crucial second leg, Brescia prevailed on the pitch and won promotion to Serie A meaning that Toro would have to endure another season in Serie B.

Despite a dreadful campaign for the Granata as they finished in 8th position, Bianchi had another good season as he was Toro's top scorer with 19 goals - and despite having numerous offers to leave the club, he decided to stay in order to try and get the club promoted to Serie A. This was achieved in the 2011/12 season, although ironically this was statistically Bianchi's worst season in a Torino shirt, as he only managed eight goals all season.

However, despite not being a favourite of coach Giampiero Ventura, 'Il Capitano' still finished the most recent season as the club's top scorer - and after scoring a brace against boyhood club Atalanta, he entered the record books as Torino's tenth highest goal scorer of all time.

Bianchi ended his Torino career with 77 goals and it is certainly unlikely that this tally will be beaten any time soon. Whatever the future holds for Rolando (a move to Genoa has been heavily rumoured) I honestly wish him the best for the rest of his career - and who knows with football, he could even return to the club and add to his already impressive goal record.

Grazie Rolando!

1 comment:

  1. cheers mate!
    it's a pleasure read yours
    ora e sempre forza Toro...

    greetings from torino