With recent comparisons made between AS Roma’s Lorenzo Pellegrini and club legend Francesco Totti, it’s not a surprise that so many Football Index Traders are hoping to find out more about the 23-year-old.
“I will never be Totti, he is a legend, a champion, a reference point,” Pellegrini told Corriere dello Sport this week. “Obviously, I’m very pleased to hear these things said, but Francesco is Francesco and there will never be another like him.
“Totti is Totti, I’m Lorenzo. I can’t tell you who I’m similar to, I don’t like to make comparisons. I only try to be the best Lorenzo I can be for Roma.”
While there will only ever be one Francesco Totti, Pellegrini has started 17 of his 24 matches in an advanced attacking role in central midfield this season, providing no less than ten assists during those 17 games.
That he has found such success from playing further forward from his regular position in central midfield. Given that he managed just six assists in the entirety of 2018/19, it seems like the shift in position from boss Paulo Fonseca has well and truly paid off.
During September’s 4-2 victory over Sassuolo, Pellegrini had weighed in with a hat-trick of assists after just 33 minutes, and the Coach was keen to stress the importance of the youngster’s role in their new high-pressing approach.
“We changed a few things this evening,” the Portuguese boss told reporters in his post-match press conference. “Pellegrini played as a trequartista. With Jordan Veretout and [Henrikh] Mkhitaryan, we’ve got a better capacity for maintaining possession. Everyone played well today.
“I tell everyone to press high and that is an important element. It worked well this evening. That does mean running some risks, but the high press is important and, when done well, actually gives you fewer risks in defence.”
Only injuries have prevented Pellegrini from earning more than his current tally of 12 senior caps for Italy, and it looked increasingly likely that Roberto Mancini would’ve included the player in his Euro 2020 squad had the tournament not been postponed.
Strong links with Manchester United had emerged at the end of 2018, yet the player’s agent was keen to quash any notion of a move to the Premier League. “If I have to talk about Lorenzo right now the only thing I can talk about is his extraordinary form,” his agent Giampiero Pocetta told Corriere dello Sport in November of that year.
“Pellegrini is only thinking about improving with and for Roma. Manchester United? I’m sorry that rumours have spread about financial aspects relating to him and his teammates, it doesn’t matter for Lorenzo. He doesn’t live for meetings, especially financial ones.”
Since then, the player has very clearly improved, even though he remains keen to dispel any identification with his fellow Roman Francesco Totti. Whether Lorenzo Pellegrini follows him to become a one-club man or moves on to pastures new remains to be seen. What is for sure is that this 23-year-old has a very bright future ahead of him.