AS Roma‘s new signing Michel Bastos is already the talk of Rome, but not necessarily for the right reasons. Prior to Roma’s Coppa Italia quarterfinal win against Juventus, Brazilian midfielder Bastos was taking a lap around the Stadio Olimpico to greet his new fans when he was thrown a Roma scarf from the stands. In an attempt to be polite and show his loyalty to his new club, Bastos picked up the scarf, and with a big smile, held it aloft, unaware that the words “Lazio merda” were strewn across the traditional red and yellow neck warmer.
As you may have guessed by now, “Lazio merda” does not mean “Lazio is great” or “Lazio is the best.” In fact, it means quite the opposite. Translated from Italian it means “Lazio is s***,” something that is regularly screamed out from the stands by Roma fans as a way to spite their hated rivals Lazio who share the Stadio Olimpico with Roma. Both Bastos and the club have apologized to Lazio on Roma’s Twitter page for any offense caused by the incident.
Although a little embarrassing for Bastos, it certainly endured him to Roma fans who love nothing more than to express their hatred of the sky blue half of Rome. This has surely been spotted by Lazio fans, and despite the apology, expect Bastos to be greeted with a chorus of boos when Roma face Lazio in the second Rome derby of the season on Feb. 8.
The 30-year-old Bastos is best known for his time at French sides Lille, where he worked with current Roma boss Rudi Garcia, and Lyon, where he made a name for himself as a goal-scoring winger. Following his time with Lyon, Bastos was loaned out to German side Schalke 04 for the second half of last season, but after failing to impress, was shipped off to the Middle East and joined UAE club Al Ain.
After stating a desire to return to Europe, Roma bought the Brazilian on a loan deal worth $1.5 million with the option to buy for $4.7 million at the end of the season should Roma be interested. Bastos has already trained with the club, but he was not eligible for the match against Juventus as he is recovering from a fractured left forearm.