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Official: Monchi Leaves Roma, Ranieri Arrives at Trigoria

An own-goal from James Pallotta leaves the club treading water. Claudio Ranieri returns as Roma caretaker.

Chievo Verona v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Alessandro Sabattini/Getty Images

It’s reported through several media sources by now: Monchi has officially agreed to leave the club by mutual consent. There are conflicting reports over whether he leaves for nothing or with some kind of a severance package thrown in, but that hardly matters at this point.

The decision to leave was reportedly motivated by the club overruling Monchi in parting ways with former coach Eusebio Di Francesco. James Pallotta going over Monchi’s head was the second time, at least known to the public, the Roma owner changed the goalposts on Monchi’s supposed ‘full autonomy’ at the club. The first time was the ill-fated bidding war over Malcom with Barcelona last summer, egged on by Pallotta, for which Roma’s now ex-sporting director was left to eat the fallout.

The Spanish director reportedly felt it was increasingly obvious he agreed to a no-win situation with Pallotta’s Roma from the very start.

Monchi hired EDF under premise that the sporting director never sacks a coach who has the full faith of players and the dressing room. There hasn’t been a single report of a player unhappy with Di Francesco’s time at the club. Club captain Daniele De Rossi, who has absolutely no problem telling anyone what the score really is, made it clear that every player hoped Di Francesco would stay, on the night of EDF’s last game in charge this week.

The Abruzzese coach had the full backing of everyone inside the dressing room in difficult times, and yet was asked to take full responsibility for the club’s collective mistakes all the same, through his dismissal. If Monchi had agreed to stay in the job, he’d effectively have backstabbed Di Francesco when the going got tough. That is not a reputation any sporting director wants to earn inside of football if he’s to win the trust of successive coaches.

FC Porto v AS Roma - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg Photo by Octavio Passos/Getty Images

By agreeing to work with James Pallotta, Monchi was reduced from a man of trophy-winning dynasty, to one who’s word wasn’t worth the paper his job title was printed on. Now that Monchi leaves, that still doesn’t save his reputation from taking a hit over his questionable track record of results in Rome. But it became evident leaving Roma was the better of two bad choices.

These were ugly working conditions, and Monchi follows Walter Sabatini as the second successive sporting director to leave James Pallotta’s management, while feeling fatally undermined in the process. Sabatini was similarly overruled when he wanted to stick by former coach Rudi Garcia, during both men’s time in Rome.

There is plenty of responsibility to be handed around for Roma’s disappointing results on the pitch this season, not least of all mistakes made by Eusebio Di Francesco and Monchi themselves. But those two men have now fully paid up and accounted for their responsibility, while the people left behind in Rome continue to burn more bridges inside of the footballing world.

Rome’s media have immediately gone to the airwaves to call this “the worst own-goal from James Pallotta.”

In Alessandro Austini’s own words: “The situation to fix at the club was bigger than Monchi. We’ll say goodbye to him as if he wasn’t good enough, but I would like to know who’s the next target in the firing line in Rome. It’s a city that’s a prisoner of itself.”

There is widespread feeling that the two men who deserved better than this current Roma management have effectively gone to better pastures elsewhere.

Rather than feeding into the club’s reputation once again disappearing into oblivion on the European scene, the current Giallorossi squad have no choice but to focus on turning around results on the pitch.

On that note, the club is left in the hands of a loyal servant returned to Trigoria this afternoon.

Claudio Ranieri Signs On As Caretaker, First Training Session Today

Southampton FC v Fulham FC - Premier League Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images

Claudio Ranieri landed at Ciampino private airport, at 10.30 Italian time this morning. He was immediately chauffered to his family home in Rome, before arriving at Villa Stuart later in the day.

His contract-signing at the clinic was an opportune moment to meet senior players Fazio, Manolas, De Rossi, Pellegrini and others who are on the injury table for Roma right now. All men were undergoing their various medical exams, while Ranieri signed on as caretaker manager until the end of the 2018/19 season.

There are no reports as to Ranieri agreeing to stay at the club beyond the summer. Would he even want to, if offered the chance?

He’s reportedly agreed to guide the Roma first team until the end of the season, irrespective of any targets the club may fail or achieve in that time. Sky Italia reports the team’s performance on the pitch will have no bearing on whether Ranieri stays on at the club for next season. Ranieri will hold his first training session with the team at 15.15 pm CET today. More to follow.

Update: Gianluca Di Marzio reports it was Ranieri’s request not to have any clauses or triggers for a contract extension into next season. So basically the club can’t even land Ranieri on a permanent basis.