Roman Nicknames: Sciabbolone

In what's overwhelmingly likely to start out ambitiously and then fizzle out and die forgotten in a corner after two or so entries, this is the first in a series of posts shining the light on the tradition of nicknames given to Roma players, by us, the adoring fans.

First out, the Batistuta before there was even a grandpa Batistuta: Rodolfo Volk, also known under the Italianisation of the Fascist era as Rodolfo Folchi as well as the fake name Bolteni, taken for a day in order to play a game for Fiorentina while on military duty in Firenze. A man of multiple identities, he was born in then Austria-Hungary, which is modern day Croatia, of German ethnicity and Italian by nationality; he scored the first goal at legendary Campo Testaccio, scored the first derby goal ever (and by doing so blazed trails for latter day heroes like Delvecchio), and became a janitor at the offices of Italy's state betting system Totocalcio upon retirement.

With his blond, slicked back hair and imposing physique (in the traditional striker mold) he was quickly given the nickname Sigghefreddo (adapted and Romanized  from Sigfrido) after the Nordic mythological hero. But it is his other nickname I like even more: Sciabbolone. To understand its etymology, we need first note that King Vittorio Emanuele III was given the epithet Sciaboletta. The former is the augmentative of the Italian word for sabre, the latter the diminutive; Volk was imposing physically, the king was notoriously short at a not-so-imposing 1.53m. But more importantly, the nickname was a testament to his famous shot, which put the fear of Roma in many a defender in the 30's.