After months of speculation following the sacking of Eusebio Di Francesco, Roma announced this morning that they have finalized a two-year contract with Paulo Fonseca. Fonseca is the former manager of F.C. Porto, S.C. Braga, and Shaktar Donetsk, among others; he has been handed a two-year contract with a third-year option, which would see the Portuguese coach run i Lupi until 2022.
Although Fonseca is undoubtedly an exciting young name in European football right now, his appointment comes after very public attempts by Roma management (including Francesco Totti) to attract the likes of Antonio Conte, Maurizio Sarri, and Gian Piero Gasperini. This isn’t to say that Fonseca is a bad choice for the hot-seat; he was able to work incredibly well with limited resources at Shaktar Donetsk, and running a club in Ukraine may be one of the few less-inviting environments that running a club in Roma right now. Add in the fact that Fonseca has done an excellent job developing youth prospects while competing in European competitions.
Fonseca’s most notable moment to date as a manager has to be his shocking 2-1 defeat of Manchester City in the 2017/2018 Champions League group stage. On that stage, Fonseca’s side handed City their first loss in 29 matches, and that Shaktar side’s ability to seize on any and every mistake made by a titan of the Champions League will be a necessary skill for Roma to gain if the Giallorossi wish to make noise in Serie A and European competitions.
Read the club’s official statement below:
AS Roma are delighted to confirm that Paulo Fonseca will be the club’s new head coach.
The 46-year-old has agreed to take the reins at the Giallorossi ahead of the start of the new season, on an initial two-year contract. An optional third year could extend the deal until the summer of 2022.
“We are delighted to welcome Paulo Fonseca to the club,” said AS Roma president Jim Pallotta. “Paulo is a young and ambitious coach with international experience, a winning mentality and a reputation for bold, attacking football that will excite our fans. From the very first conversations we had with him, he made it very clear he wanted to come to Roma and was excited about the challenge of working with our players and putting out a team that the fans can be proud of.”
Fonseca, a Portuguese national born in Mozambique, joins from Shakhtar Donetsk - where he won the league and cup double in all three seasons with the Ukrainian club. He also won the Ukrainian Super Cup in 2017. He had previously built up a wealth of experience in Portuguese football, having enjoyed spells at clubs including Pacos Ferreira, Braga and Porto.
“I am very pleased to be appointed the head coach of AS Roma,” Fonseca said. “I want to thank the club’s management for the opportunity they have given me. I am excited and motivated by the task ahead of us. I cannot wait to move to Rome, meet our fans and get started. Together, I believe we can create something special.” A central defender during his playing days, Fonseca spent his whole professional career in Portugal - making over 100 top-flight appearances. Since starting his coaching career in 2005, his honours also include the Portuguese Cup (with Braga in 2016) and Portuguese Super Cup (with Porto in 2013).
We’ll have more on Fonseca’s appointment in the next few days, including the cavalcade of transfer rumors that are sure to erupt now that Roma has a manager again.