Keeping CdT humming while having an actual reality to deal with has always been somewhat difficult. My aim has always been to keep CdT as active as possible to provide a home for all of our collectives hopes and dreams. our rants and raves, and for the most part it's been manageable. If there is a midweek Champions League match (too soon?) nine times out of ten I can race home to at least catch the second half, and given the time difference across the Atlantic, covering the matches doesn't eat up my entire weekend. Not easy nor ideal, but it's been a labor of love all these years so I've made do.
Before we proceed, let me give a huge thanks to the entire staff here, who are, much like me and you, working adults with jobs, families, student loans, dog food bills; the whole nine yards. Their time, dedication and professionalism means the world to me, and on days like today I'm more appreciative of that than ever.
Because today was unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed in all my years as a Roma fan, to say nothing of my time at the helm here.
There I was, just about to sit down to my leftover stir-fry lunch and passion fruit flavored green tea, when my phone started humming like a finely tuned guitar. Was it a weather alert? Did my mother need help moving something? Was the White House mass texting the entire country again? Had Taco Bell finally brought back the chicken flatbread sandwich?
Nope, none of the above.
After several fruitless ultimatums, Roma had finally done the deed; they sacked Eusebio Di Francesco after nearly two frustrating years on the Giallorossi bench.
Now, this was somewhat expected given all we discussed this week and last, but with James Pallotta effectively blaming VAR for Roma's Champions League exit it seemed like, if nothing else, EDF would get to play out the string in one last, desperate attempt to secure fourth place in Serie A.
But, this wasn't that big of a deal. Roma have changed managers midseason before; we could cope, we're hearty people us Roma fans.
Then things got even more hectic...
Reports spreading fast: #Monchi negotiating a contract termination with #ASRoma , as he was over-ruled in sacking of Eusebio Di Francesco. #Arsenal could help by paying €1.5m release clause. https://t.co/COBzihSUwf #AFC #UCL #SerieA #monchiout pic.twitter.com/03bfR3pZ29— footballitalia (@footballitalia) March 7, 2019
That was just the first Tweet that popped up, but all your standard Roma outlets are towing the same line. Monchi, who was reportedly overruled on the EDF decision, is negotiating a buyout with Roma (believed to be €1.5 million) and will soon find himself leading Arsenal in a similar position.
I feel like we'll need proper time to fully digest and weigh Monchi's legacy with Roma, but suffice it to say it's been disappointing. With visions of our own Sergio Ramos or Ivan Rakitic dancing through our heads, Roma fans were dizzy with anticipation when Monchi was first connected to Roma. He had experience, an eye for talent and the ability to find hidden gems and, for the Pallotta fans out there, turn that talent into copious revenue. He was the ideal man to lead the budget conscious Roma to glory.
And while he did well to net Cengiz Ünder and Nicolo Zaniolo, among others, the money he spent on the likes of Javier Pastore, Steven Nzonzi and even William Bianda (seriously, €11 million on a Primavera player) have the potential to tarnish whatever good work he did for Roma.
As with all stories of this nature, we'll never really know exactly how this transpired. Was Monchi really that attached to EDF or was he using this as a convenient excuse to work his way to Arsenal?
Taking it a step further (or backwards, I guess), how much autonomy did Monchi truly have? After all, he did find Ramos, he did find Rakitic, so how in the world could he construct so much of Roma so haphazardly? Has he lost his touch or was he hamstrung by James Pallotta and Roma's...umm...unstable financial situation?
I'm desperate to find out, but I fear that speculation is our only friend here.
But hey, after seven years and thousands of articles here, I can safely say this is a first for me: Roma losing their manager and director of sport in a manner of 24 hours.
This is uncharted water, even for Roma. Be afraid. Be very afraid.