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Julian De Martinis On June - 28 - 2011

Cesena Roll The Dice With Adrian Mutu

Can a man’s work be separated from his personal life? Movie-watchers must ask themselves if it is possible to enjoy the works of Roman Polanski knowing of the sexual allegations directed towards the director, or if Mel Gibson’s bigotry should lead them to boycott his films. Cesena fans find themselves faced with a similar dilemma this season, as the club brings in Adrian Mutu to help an anemic attack. Can the oft-troubled player’s past be forgiven if he can deliver goals as he used to?

Adrian Mutu is not a bad football player- indeed, he is a very-good-if-aging one. A bad man, perhaps, but trials and tribulations are part of the life of any man (though admittedly Mutu’s seemingly myriad of issues involving drugs and idiocy make it hard for one to sympathize). The Cesena tifosi may be worried that the great striker may be inseparable from the troubled man, a mixed bag of goods that could pay off immensely or fail miserably like a high-stakes gamble on a blackjack table. Without knowing their hand- which Mutu will show up- fans may choose to be optimistic and welcome the striker, who may lead their team far higher up on the table than would otherwise be attainable. His past however may not be far behind, like a dark shadow trailing a man nearing the end of his journey.

After all, goals were exceedingly difficult to come by last season for the club, and a proven classy striker would be a welcome addition. The ‘Cavallucci Marini’ only managed to score thirty eight goals last season, an average of one goal per game and tying them for the fifth lowest scoring team in all of Serie A. Mutu may have scored a mere four goals a season the last two seasons, but has been limited in playing time due to suspension. The three seasons previous to that saw Mutu score an average of 15.33 goals per year. Should the ex-Romania captain reach anywhere near that lofty number for his side, Cesena would likely embrace the renegade striker.

Especially since their own strike force is downright abysmal. The Emilia-Romagna side’s top scorer last season was Luis Jimenez (9 goals) followed by Erjon Bogdani (8) and Emanuele Giaccherini (7): not a single player broke double digits for the team. Mutu may be thirty-two years old but should find a reasonable niche in the side, as he has formed superb striking partnerships in the past. At Fiorentina, he first gelled immensely with Luca Toni to notch thirty-two goals as a couple in 06-07, and two years later was a goal more prolific with Alberto Gilardino. Should Mutu find himself once again motivated and rearing to score, it may be Bogdani and Giaccherini who benefit the most from it, much to the tifosi’s delight.

If the fans can overlook his dark past, that is. Time and time again Mutu has proven to be troublesome at best if not downright dangerous, with both drugs and lack of responsibility shadowing him throughout his career. His plights began in 2004 upon infamously failing a drug test for cocaine which saw him sacked from Chelsea. He was promptly banned from playing football again until May 2005, upon which time he was eligible to play for Juventus, which had signed him that preceding January. Chelsea sued the player in 2005 for compensation in an exceedingly drawn out legal saga which is still in process today. The latest ruling stipulated that Mutu must pay Chelsea seventeen million Euros in damages, but the Romanian has appealed to the European Court of Justice, who are currently reviewing the case.

However, the controversy did not just end there. In January 2010 he once again failed a doping test for Fiorentina during a Coppa Italia match against Lazio and eventually received a six month ban, ending on October 29th. After the ban ended, Fiorentina themselves suspended the player due to a breach of contract, and he was only restored to the first team this February after publicly apologizing to the club. He infamously punched a waiter this past winter and seemed to be on an infinitely downward spiral before finally returning to the squad. He finished out the season before being signed by Cesena on June 23rd on a two year contract.

Mutu himself claims he’s ready for the new challenge, stating that Cesena is “a club that has shown in recent years that they have clear ideas on how to achieve success and, above all, has the courage to carry them out.” He has even taken a wage cut to join the side, proving that the move was not merely about money, but about the football. So far he has claimed to be quite enthusiastic about the move: “I am excited and cannot wait to throw myself headlong into this new adventure.” If he can deliver on the goals and leave aside his troubled past, Cesena fans may have found themselves a new savior. With Adrian Mutu, however, that’s often easier said than done.

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Julian De Martinis

Calcio, Azzurri, and Roma tifosi. Blogger, correspondent, podcast host (@LaMagicast). Lover of books, movies, wordplay, family, and a good cappuccino.

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2 Responses so far.

  1. Goodbye Mutu! You single handedly destroyed Viola 2 yrs ago…thanks alot!

  2. Elaine says:

    Nice analogy with the film directors. I’ve always loved Mutu the player.

    You know, Cesena could embrace Mutu’s bad boy side by having fans bet on what kind of trouble he gets into this time and how long before he does. I bet they could at least make enough to pay his wages, then if and when he is suspended, at least they’ve broken even financially.

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