April 2017 was a confusing and emotional time for Roma. And before you ask, yes, Roma is confused and emotional all the time, but during this particular month of that particular year our nerves were on edge. Luciano Spalletti, our almost-conquering hero, was leading Roma to a record breaking points and goals campaign, nipping Juve's heels the entire way. And while everything should have been copacetic in the capital, it wasn't: Spalletti was irked because Roma failed to land him Papu Gomez (among others) on the market, while simultaneously waging a cold war of sorts against Francesco Totti and his legion of adoring fans.
That friction and the invisible hand of James Pallotta would soon force Totti into "retirement” and Spalletti into the welcoming arms of Inter Milan. In one fell swoop, Roma lost their icon, their manager and eventually their director of sport, Walter Sabatini. The club was, once again, directionless.
However, Roma's luck would soon change thanks to the somewhat harmonious divorce between Monchi, the king of all footballing executives, and his lifelong employer, Sevilla FC.
Now, given how poorly the relationship went since then, it might be hard to remember but Roma landing Monchi was a coup of the highest order. Monchi had his pick of jobs—big clubs, small clubs, clubs with ambitions and clubs with more money than sense—yet somehow Roma convinced him to lead their project.
This was no minor footnote. This was LeBron joining the Lakers, man landing on the moon, the invention of Nutella to-go packs; this was huge. Roma, a club that can seldom make their actions mirror their words, landed the best sporting director in the game. Sure, Roma 2.0 sputtered coming out of the gate, but Monchi had the eye for talent and the patience to make it work, right?
You don't need me to rehash the events of the past two years, but suffice it to say, it was a mixed bag at best. And when his hand-picked coach was shown the door two weeks ago, Monchi followed suit. With rumors long since connecting him to Arsenal, it seemed like a foregone conclusion he'd reunite with his former Sevilla cowoker, Unai Emery, in London.
Well, there will be a reunion, but not the one we thought...
Monchi has returned to Sevilla, and how you spin this depends largely on your view of the man and his tenure with Roma. The cynics among us will say, unable to weather the storms of Roma, he tucked his tail between his legs and ran away, while the more empathetic might simply say he returned home; to the place where he feels most comfortable and welcomed.
Whatever it is, Monchi's brief yet tumultuous tenure with Roma is over, and if his now former club miss out on the Champions League next season, his successor will have quite a mess to clean up.
Gracias, Monchi....gracias por nada.