Sometimes I think about what it would be like to run a club like Roma, and all of the minuscule decisions that have to be made on a day-to-day basis that can have massive consequences. Hire the wrong medical team, and suddenly those players you spent millions of euros on are all having to get ACL surgery. Hire the wrong Director of Sport, and a promising five-year plan to catapult your club to the top of the top can go down the tubes faster than you can eat a serving of cacio e pepe. Granted, James Pallotta’s hot-and-cold style of running Roma has caused a lot of unforced errors, Roman and Italian bureaucracy have continually kneecapped Roma’s aspirations to enter the super-club echelon, and staff members like Monchi and Franco Baldini have created more bad news than good. Yet through all those mistakes, when I put myself in the shoes of whoever is truly running Roma on a day-to-day basis, I realize that sometimes putting out fires you accidentally created is one of the most important things a leader has to do.
On that note, it looks like the rampant protests of Romanisti worldwide, Daniele De Rossi’s “retirement” from Roma, and the Giallorossi’s near-guaranteed hiatus from Champions League football have made it clear to Roman management that something has to be done that makes it look like Roma is moving with an upwards trajectory. Sure, there have already been rumblings concerning the signing of Gianluca Petrachi and Gian Piero Gasperini, but anyone with a decent understanding of Roma could tell you that those hirings won’t calm down the Roman tempest in any meaningful way. One thing that might actually help is ensuring that Francesco Totti continues to have a role with the Giallorossi into the extended future. If Romanisti have to lose one Roman icon this summer, they better not lose two. Pallotta seems to have figured that out, at least according to reports from Corriere Dello Sport saying that the American intends on handing Er Pupone a promotion.
As of right now, Totti’s role for i Lupi post-retirement has been rather hazy. He has essentially been an ambassador for the club on a global level, going to meetings, matches, and awards ceremonies everywhere from Rome to London to New York, but beyond that it doesn’t appear that Totti has had much of a role in the actual decision-making at Trigoria. If Corriere Dello Sport is correct, that may be changing in the near future, as they report that Totti will be moving onwards and upwards from his current position of “club director” to technical director. In this role, Totti will be less of a global ambassador and more of a protege to Roma’s next Director of Sport. Instead of just talking to the press, Totti will now get a say in hiring and firing managers, buying and selling players, the development of squad mentality, and more.
Personally, I always saw this as the next step for Totti. I never thought he would become a manager in the short term, particularly for Roma; too many legendary players tarnish their reputations through poor coaching performances, and Totti is a smart enough marketing mind to avoid that unless he is confident he could be the next Zidane. I didn’t necessarily think this change in role would happen as quickly as it apparently has, however, but I think a lot of that can come down to the situation the club finds itself in at the moment. Throw in the rumblings that the potential collapse of Pallotta’s plan for Roma were making Totti think of leaving the club entirely, and this certainly reads as Totti recognizing his position of strength and using it to get the larger role he wanted (and deserved).
Good on you, Capitano. Now, please, help make sure that next season isn’t Roma 2018-2019 2.0: Electric Boogaloo.