In Collaboration with MJ Jones
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was Tammy Abraham.
Tammy Abraham’s move to the Italian giants Roma last summer marked not only a new chapter in his football career but also in his personal life. From the hustle and bustle of London to the charming streets of Rome, Tammy has found a new home in the Italian capital and immersed himself in the city’s culture and lifestyle.
He has made an immediate impact with I Giallorossi, enjoyed the city’s historic landmarks and world-renowned food scene, and even picked up a few words of Italian on the way. His £34 million move was a breath of fresh air and proved exactly what he needed. It is clear that with the support of his family and millions of adulating fans, the sky is the limit.
To mark the latest chapter in his story, we spent the weekend in the city he now calls home, visiting the Stadio Olimpico, taking in the sights and discussing his journey to date. The stage was set for an unforgettable collaboration with looks from renowned fashion houses Louis Vuitton, Rhude and Fendi, and British jeweller MJ Jones.
“I enjoyed every minute of the shoot; it was good fun with good people,” says Tammy. “At first I was a bit nervous about it because going out in Rome is never easy, but it turned out to be amazing. The fans are everywhere, and one thing I had to learn quickly is that they’re passionate.
“There are only two teams here: Roma or Lazio. Luckily, most people I bump into are Roma supporters, and it’s always nice to meet fans and take pictures with them. Everyone in the city has been so welcoming and so polite.”
For young athletes, leaving home and moving abroad can often be an inevitability, but also one of the more difficult decisions they will make in life. It often means leaving familiar surroundings, friends, family and comfort behind; something that has always been important to Tammy and his partner Leah.
Nevertheless, Tammy has adapted well to his new life in Rome and soaks up everything the city has to offer both on and off the pitch. Historically, English footballers were met with mixed reception when they arrived in Italy, but Tammy was an immediate success and won the hearts of fans with his performances and efforts to adapt to culture and language.
“It’s been an interesting experience, and certainly different to life back home,” explains Tammy. “Of course, I had to adapt quickly, and I miss hearing the English language at times. It’s nice to embrace a different culture, enjoy a new way of life, and learn the language, which has been cool. I should probably know more than I do, but it’s going well.
“The fans and people at the club have made me feel at home from the first day I arrived. The welcome was meant to be at a private airport, but there were so many fans there; they sang my name and were so happy to see me. From that moment, I knew this was the right place for me.
“They’re so passionate and they want their team to do well, so they’re behind you even if you don’t do well at times. But I think they could see how passionate I was on the pitch, and I think that’s what they fell in love with the most; my hunger and desire to win.
“I’ve not been here long, but I think moving to Roma is something that I’ll look back on in my career and say to myself: ‘I had the time of my life living in a different part of the world’. To experience new things has been incredible, challenging at times, but fun so far.”
Rome, the former capital of the Roman Empire and one of the most iconic cities in the world, is a treasure trove of historical and cultural wonders. From the Colosseum, an architectural marvel once used to host gladiatorial competitions, to the Pantheon, Rome offers an unmatched glimpse of the past that resonates with Tammy and his love of history.
“I’ve always loved history, even back in school,” he says. “I learned about the Colosseum and getting to see that in person was amazing. You could probably tell by my face while I was there, I couldn’t stop smiling. I love learning about the city’s history and different cultures, and Rome is one of the best places in the world for that.”
Rome, as a city, offers much more than historical insight and cultural diversity. It is also considered one of the world’s leading luxury destinations, with some of the most opulent hotels, shops and a wealth of world-class restaurants.
It is also a hub for art and culture, with museums such as the Vatican and Galleria Borghese presenting some of the most famous works of art in existence. The combination of history, culture and luxury makes Rome a unique place to live, and Tammy admits the lifestyle has exceeded his expectations.
“To be honest, the lifestyle out here has surprised me,” he says. “I always knew the Italians loved their food and how passionate they are, but when you’re here, you realise it’s on a different level. You can go to any restaurant in the city and it’ll serve the best food you’ve ever tasted. They take care and time in everything they do, which is one thing that I’ve come to love about Rome and the people here.”
On the pitch, Tammy’s integration has been seamless. He has become a talisman for Roma and, above all, a scorer of crucial goals in both domestic and European competition, helping ‘La Lupa’ to their first title in 14 years last May.
“To win a European trophy in the first year with Roma was unbelievable,” he says. “To be honest, I don’t think anyone expected it. From the moment I arrived, I said I want to win a trophy with Roma. They hadn’t won a trophy in many years, and at that point, many people didn’t believe it was possible.
“But I think coming here gave the boys belief, and they saw that I was hungry and passionate. Even in training, I always want to win. If I lost in training, the boys would try and get into my head and try to speak to me, but they could see I was always driving and pushing, and wanting the best for my team and myself.”
Having spent most of his life and career at Chelsea, Tammy has grown up surrounded by winners and an elite mentality. As one of the most successful and respected clubs in professional football, Chelsea is known for its strong academy culture, which has produced some of the best young talent in the game.
Tammy grew up in a golden age at Chelsea – an age that produced modern-day superstars like Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori and Reece James. After 17 years in West London, it was always going to be a difficult decision for Tammy to leave, but one that he feels came at a crucial point in his career.
“Just before I left Chelsea, Tomori left for AC Milan, so we’d spoken about it a lot,” he says. “I remember speaking to him on the phone, and both of us couldn’t believe it was happening. We’d been at Chelsea our whole lives, and just like that, we were leaving.
“All I’d known was Chelsea, apart from a few loan moves in between, but at the back of your mind you know it’s home. But I think it was the right time; I was ready to make the next step in my career. I didn’t want to be classified as a youngster or academy graduate, so it was time for me to spread my wings.
“I still speak to a lot of the boys today, Reece James always tells me to come back home. As a group, we grew up together, so we’ve known each other for years. Players like Mason Mount, Declan Rice, Eddie Nketiah, and myself grew up in the same environment.
“We’d spent so much of our lives at Chelsea, playing in tournaments, going on trips together, so it’s special to see them come up and how far we’ve all come. We’ve all gone on different paths and journeys, but we still share those memories.”
Tammy is part of a generation known not only for achievements on the pitch but also for its ongoing association with luxury fashion brands. Throughout the ‘90s and early 2000s, footballers were not known for their style, but have become increasingly fashion-conscious in recent years.
The rise of social media and increased scrutiny of their personal lives puts footballers under constant watch, and they are expected to maintain a certain image. This has shifted the perception of footballers as fashion icons, along with the endorsements and commercial deals flooded by luxury fashion brands throughout the industry.
Tammy sees it differently, however. For him, he can trace his love of fashion and brands back to school, and a day that every student either loved or loathed: own clothes day.
“My love for fashion and dressing well started in school,” he explains. “I think back to the times when we had our own clothes day, and it was always a competition. I remember planning my outfits a few days before, laying them out on my bed, and making sure everything was ironed and clean. I think from that point I always wanted to dress well.
“Everyone has their own style, but I like to take influence from other players like Michy Batshuayi. I’m not saying I would wear exactly what he does, but he’s cool and likes to be himself. I like people with personalities, who don’t follow the crowd and like to stand out.
“I’m tall and slim, so it’s hard to find clothes and brands that fit me well. Right now my favourite brand is LV. I go through phases where I’m in love with a brand or shop until they head in a different direction, but LV has been doing so well over and over again every time they release a collection.”
Louis Vuitton has long been a favourite among athletes and celebrities. From the red carpet to the training grounds, the iconic French fashion house has consistently demonstrated its ability to stay on trend and appeal to the rich and famous.
The brand continues to evolve and adapt to changing trends while remaining true to its heritage and craftsmanship. For this reason, it has become a go-to for professional footballers who want to make a statement, like the iconic British jeweller MJ Jones.
Established in 2012 by Mathew J. Jones, the brand has been at the forefront of the luxury jewellery industry for over a decade and works with athletes, celebrities and industry-leading brands. By offering progressive product lines made possible by innovative technology and traditional techniques, MJ Jones has worked with some of the world’s biggest stars, such as Luis Suarez, Leo Messi and now Tammy Abraham.
“MJ Jones is a brand I’ve known forever now,” says Tammy. “They were one of the first brands I contacted, requesting certain jewellery when I was 17 years old, so I’ve known them and worked with them for a while.
“They’re a brand that keeps growing, doing well and creating nice jewellery. I know many players who have used them for years now, so I’m happy to see how they’ve come up and how well they’re doing.”
For most professional athletes, a summer holiday is the ultimate reward for their hard work and commitment throughout the season. These getaways offer not only a much-needed break from training but also an opportunity to explore new cultures and indulge in the finer things life has to offer.
In just a few coveted months each year, athletes are drawn to luxury resorts and villas around the world, with private beaches, world-class facilities and private staff, to ensure they are in the perfect setting to relax and rejuvenate before everything starts again in the pre-season.
SWM has been at the forefront of the travel industry for professional athletes for several years and assisted Tammy and his family with trips to the Maldives, Turks and Caicos and the US last summer, where Tammy enjoyed a private villa, which also played host to rapper Lil Baby.
“Visiting America was amazing last summer, I loved it,” he says. “We don’t get a lot of time off, so when we do, we like to treasure it and go to the best places and see the best things. It was my first experience of the US and places like LA and Miami.
“I watch so many movies, especially American-based movies, so it was always a dream of mine to go to America. So many of my favourite movies have scenes set in LA and Miami, and I always wanted to experience that for myself.
“It’s so hard to explain, but it’s so real being there; the different experiences and bumping into different celebrities from different industries. I was in a restaurant one night in Miami, and Drake pulled up in a boat. It was such a cool experience.
“And there’s so much more that I’d like to do. I’ve never been to a basketball game – I always watch the highlights on YouTube and Instagram – but I’ve never actually been to a game. I was planning on going to a game with Tomori last summer, but we didn’t get around to making it happen, so America’s definitely going to see me again.”
It’s been an incredible 12 months for Tammy, and life in Italy seems better than ever. Roma are in fine form, he is scoring regularly, and he will soon welcome his first-born child into the world. The summer will soon be upon us and Tammy has his sights set on the bright lights of the States, but for now, he has different priorities.
“I’m expecting a little boy soon, so that’s the main focus first. Then I think I’ll figure out where I want to go in the summer,” says Tammy. “America’s always on my mind, but probably somewhere family-friendly for the little one on the way.
“This could be the best year of my life so far, so I want to make that come true. It would be lovely to win something again this year with Roma, and with my child being born, who knows what the future holds.”
"SWM has helped me and my family so much over the past couple of years. Booking my holidays, helping me reserve restaurants, organising cars and drivers. These are the little details you don't think about until after holidays over, but I never have any worries. Everything is sorted and organised for me and my family. Even now, I'm still taking to the team about villas for the summer, so it's always nice to know that you have people there for you who are willing to help you as much as they can."