Roman Nicknames: Er Fornaretto

If Sciabbolone was the first goalscorer of notoriety in Roma's history, Er Fornaretto quickly replaced him, and became the archetype of the fan favorite, free scoring striker. He debuted for Roma when he was 15; he scored immediately. To this day, he's serie A's youngest debutant and scorer. Er Fornaretto was, is, Amadeo Amadei.

The nickname comes from the family business; his father was a baker in Frascati, outside of Rome, and Fornaretto is the diminutive form of the Italian word for baker. So he's the little baker, or the baker's son; both are technically correct. Amadei, as a young boy, worked for the bakery delivering bread on his little bicycle. He used that bicycle, and snuck away from his deliveries one day in order to try out for AS Roma, in Testaccio. Google Maps helps us understand the distance he traveled - on his bike - to try out. As a fifteen year old, remember.

When he returned back to Frascati after the trial (obviously successful) he saw his sister, who urged him to hurry back to the bakery, because their father had noticed his absence and was furious when he learned where his son had gone. His father only adjusted to the idea of his son the footballer after some time, but it was hardly an environment of support that spurred on his early career.

He started his career as a right wing, but was transformed into a goalscorer of importance (by chance, and all other options being injured; a pattern that would of course repeat itself around 65 years later with Totti). Amadei was fast, and technically excellent: he could dribble as well as shoot with both feet. His own teammates bragged of him that "if he got the ball at the halfway line, it meant goal". He soon became a consistent goal scorer, and it was his record of total goals for Roma that stood for around 40 years (before Roberto Pruzzo made it his own). When he was yet only 21 years old he led Roma to its first scudetto in 1942; in fact, it was the first scudetto in history won by a team from a city south of Bologna. Part and parcel of being a romanista is hearing cries of how that title was fixed, how Mussolini arranged for Roma to win it. Amadei has retorted rather perfect, I think: he expresses the view that Mussolini perhaps could have larger problems to deal with in 1942 than who was to win serie A, and asks where Mussolini's help was when he had to miss practice in order to go to work in the morning and bake bread for the family to get through. That, and the fact that Mussolini would only arrange for Roma to win 16 years into its existence makes the accusation condemnable, and it's not hard to understand why Amadei says he perceives it as an insult.

Amadei was also called "l'ottavo Re di Roma", the eighth King of Rome. He's not alone in having that particular nickname (Falcao had it for a while, Delvecchio was even called it half jokingly after some derby heroics), but he was the first.