We are one week away from finding out whether Roma make the top 4 or not. Despite all the setbacks of this season, the Giallorossi are still in with a chance to meet their league objective this coming weekend and the Lega has moved De Rossi’s final Roma game to 20.30 Sunday evening to reflect this fact.
Admittedly - as has been the case for a while now - Roma’s future is not in her own hands despite being lumped in as a Champions League contender on the last matchday. Some fans will be saying: Why bother? Why hope?
Personally, I snap out of the funk because feeling sorry for myself is a plain waste of life. I’ve been wrong about how football matches will turn out many times before, and I’m willing to be wrong yet again this coming Sunday. One more mistake can’t hurt. None of us have all the time in the world, life is short and this is the fun of supporting a sports team.
It’s the aiming for your highest possible goal, always. If you have to set up a team to try and hit Parma for 5 then just do it, and let the chips fall where they will.
Roma to Promote Francesco Totti
All this opening gun-ho talk being said, reports are emerging this week that Roma upper management will finally make a public announcement that helps team spirit rather than sabotages it. The decision in question is that of Francesco Totti’s future, and the Roma icon has reportedly stuck his chest out to let the club know it’s time for a promotion.
The Gazzetta dello Sport is carrying the story that Francesco Totti is set to become Roma’s new Technical Director. Several other media sites are running with the same headline, while GdS claim Totti could be announced in his new role as soon as this week, though there is the chance James Pallotta will make the announcement once the regular season has finished to announce the new ‘co-team’ of Totti and Gianluca Petrachi.
So what exactly does a technical director do? Totti’s new role has him working alongside Roma’s new sporting director on playing signings, squad building and the choice of coaches. Essentially, Totti’s knowledge of what it takes to build a unified dressing room (something which Totti himself had a hand in both destroying and rebuilding through his own tumultous growth as a player) in the Eternal City will be put to full use here.
Roma’s director lineup will mirror the same kind of setup Inter Milan has run for the last few years. Will it make a big difference? Inter Milan’s results haven’t been the most promising with this setup, but they were working off a ton of Moratti debt. Time will tell.
Allegri Thrown Into the Running for Roma Bench
How does Massimiliano Allegri feel - as Serie A’s joint-winningest coach of all time - stepping down from Juventus to come manage Roma?
Sky Sport Italia put a microphone in front of Allegri’s face to suggest that James Pallotta had jumped out of chair as soon as he heard Allegri was looking for a job next season.
“Let’s hope he didn’t fall to the floor,” Allegri laughed in response. “I’ve received a ton of messages [on my future] but we still have two days of work to do, then I’ll leave after the Genoa game. I’ll only take a year out of the game if I have to and the right job isn’t there. Talking about other teams makes no sense right now. We’ll see what happens, as life is full of the unexpected.”
To me, that sounds like Allegri is waiting for the managerial go-round to free up at AC Milan or abroad. But if you’re Pallotta, you have to at least sound out Allegri for the job; even if the bookmakers reckon Roma have made up their minds on pushing hard for a guy in Bergamo instead.
Will Gasperini Really Sell Out for Roma or Milan?
Yes, Gasperini is the bookies’ 2/1 favourite to become next Roma coach, though Antonio Conte enjoyed the same odds just a couple of weeks ago. If we justify Gasperini coming to Rome as a “sporting” decision, that’s a prime example of how we convince ourselves of anything for the prospect of results and winning games. Just like any other football club.
Only Gasperini is already successful. And sure, there’s this argument Atalanta can’t represent Italy in the Champions League to the fullest next year. But that’s essentially repeating the belief that only the biggest teams with the biggest paychecks have a god-given right to compete at the top of sport.
Club owners happen to understand that sports fans already think that way, which is exactly why they’re creating the European Super League. The ESL is just formalizing a pre-existing belief that lives and prospers among football fans for some time now. You’ll hear a lot of rhetoric in the next 3 years that the ESL goes against principles. Except it really does not. Not when we’re ok with Gasperini walking out of Atalanta.
For his part, Gasperini wasn’t pinning his colours to Bergamo this weekend. He left the door wide open. “I’m totally focused on the finish to this season and nothing else,” Gasperini said in a press conference. “Any change, if there will be one, will be done having talked through it with the [Atalanta] president. For everything that concerns Atalanta, I’ve already spoken about it with the president.”
It sounds like Gasperini really is on the move, though it remains unclear whether his final destination is Roma or Milan. In an alternate reality where team spirit and togetherness counts for more, the blue half of Milan had already done Serie A a bad turn by crashing out of the Champions League group stages this season. How are Atalanta fans meant to feel about being told their team wouldn’t do Serie A justice next season, given that?
Spalletti’s men even failed by playing to a draw at the San Siro against a Dutch team ten times less their financial size. That’s the kind of ‘beat the odds’ team spirit Roma could be looking to buy through hiring Gasperini. But the fact is - the prospect of working with top young talent at a bigger club aside - Gasperini will be walking out on Atalanta to Roma or AC Milan for the sake of his retirement fund.
Relationships with that kind of disparity often go the same way we’ve seen in the Eternal City with coaches, over and again.