Wednesday January 23 2013
Soccer Italia: Pretender to the throne

After a problematic first season in Italy with Roma, Soccer Italia's Dave Taylor takes a closer look at Erik Lamela – one of this season’s revelations under Coach Zdenek Zeman.

Serie A is likely to lose one of its living legends in the not too distant future when Francesco Totti finally retires. Yet in some ways the veteran forward will still be around, thanks to the notable similarities between him and current Curva God, Erik Lamela. It’s all there in the way the Argentine forward runs, his size, his pace and of course ball control. Hey! Don’t just take my word for it, another club legend, Giuseppe Giannini recently claimed: “Lamela can be Zeman’s Totti of 13 years ago.”

Even the man himself agrees. “He has everything to be my heir in the side,” Er Pupone insisted as far back as December last year, after Lamela had set up his two goals in the 5-1 defeat of Cesena. Certainly El Coco has that wit and subtlety of movement that is reminiscent of the young Francesco. In fact, whisper it quietly but he has been more successful than Il Gladiatore was at the same stage in his career, earning his first international cap at 19, while scoring more goals. Young Erik also carries himself with the sort of swagger that Totti had and still has... 

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