I'm not sure in all my time here that we've ever devoted so much coverage to a managerial search, but then again, Roma haven't been in a pickle quite like this before. Moments after sacking Eusebio Di Francesco, Monchi followed him out the door, leaving Roma with two important and gaping holes in their hierarchy. With dregs like Sousa clouding the rumor mill in stepped Claudio Ranieri, a Roman through and through, to take on a seemingly insurmountable task; turn Roma around in little more than two months and ensure safe passage to the game's greatest stage.
With a Champions League or bust mandate issued from...well, from Boston, Ranieri's task was always a tall one, and while he's had a few slip ups during his interim tenure, he's treated the job with all the poise and grace one would expect from a man so obviously in love with the club and city.
So devoted to Roma is Ranieri that, in the midst of your standard midweek press conferences, when reporters began asking him about the Antonio Conte to Roma rumors, rather than lashing back, Ranieri offered to pick Conte up at the airport! Few among us could have blamed Ranieri for jabbing back, but Ranieri gushed at the prospect of Conte joining the Giallorossi like, well, like he was one of us.
Say what you will about his tactics, his tinkering, and his sometimes tedious football, Claudio Ranieri is pure class, a man who loves and respects the club and would never do anything to willfully damage his beloved Roma; he'll always want whats best for Roma even if it doesn't involve him.
So, with the two-nil defeat of Juventus fresh in the air, Ranieri was once again asked about his future.
When I was contacted by Roma, I was offered a role for after this experience, but I said no, I am still a Coach and I want to continue coaching. I happily take the insults and knocks, because I want to keep coaching.
I think the club knows what it needs to do and is waiting to see where we are at the end of the season, quite rightly, before making any decisions.
I suppose none of that necessarily precludes Roma from retaining Ranieri at season's end if he guides them to the Champions League, but it does reveal their true intentions upon striking this deal; Ranieri was always meant to be a stop gap. By offering him a “role”, whatever that might be, the club made it clear that they had no intention of retaining his services the following season.
I'll try not to use this as yet another opportunity to rail against the ownership, but why not at least leave things open ended? Why flat out prohibit the possibility of extending the pact past June?
Maybe it's just me, but something about this just rubs me the wrong way, like they're just blatantly taking advantage of his love for the club while offering him nothing beyond a token “role” after he's done, even if he met the stated objective—the Champions League.
And if you've ever taken a temp job, and done all that was asked of you and more, and weren't even considered for the full-time gig, then you know how much that stings.
Again, I could be alone in that feeling, but it just irked me...but then again, Roma hasn't always been so kind to their own.