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Roma Roundup: Ünder as a Top Player, EDF and Benatia Regret Roma Sales & More

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In the absence of actual news, some former Roma players are letting their loose lips sink ships.

FBL-ITA-SERIEA-ROMA-BENEVENTO Photo credit should read VINCENZO PINTO/AFP via Getty Images

I have to say that, out of all the sporting stories and narratives emerging during the Coronavirus pandemic, my favorite genre has been former players and managers spilling the beans on many of the issues we always suspected were true but could never prove. And since Roma is always a hotbed of controversy, you knew it was only a matter of time before people started airing their dirty laundry.

We've got plenty of that and more in Tuesday's news roundup. Enjoy!

Cassetti: "Between Totti and Spalletti it was mutual love, then something broke"

One of our favorite former Roma players started the hit parade by offering his take on perhaps the most confusing, contentious and juicy rumor of the past several years—the sometimes joyous sometimes caustic relationship between Francesco Totti and Luciano Spalletti.

After praising Spalletti as one of the men who impacted his career most, Cassetti gave his two cents on what went wrong between Spalletti and Totti:

The first was mutual love, they understood each other immediately. He turned it into the first point, with Perrotta who managed to stitch the game. Then the relationship broke, I know why but I can’t say it. Spalletti’s situation was not easy either, that is, to manage the end of an extraordinary career like that of Totti. I also stopped at 38 and I always wanted to play, so it is not easy to manage a footballer in these phases, but even he did not have the best approach.

That's a bit of a jenky Google translation, but I do like that he didn't pin all the blame on Spalletti. Managing Totti was probably tough enough under normal circumstances, but managing a record-setting club during Totti's final season would have been enough to drive even Sir Alex mad.

But he wasn't the only one opening up about the club's recent past...

Benatia: “I thought I would end my career at Roma”

From our friends at RomaPress is a translated version of Mehdi Benatia's recent interview with Il Tempo, focusing largely on his reflections of his time with the Giallorossi.

It's an interesting read, but this was the highlight for sure:

Juve started over with a serious project: they got Pogba for free, they brought Barzagli, whose contract was close to expiration, and Bonucci from Bari. Why can’t Roma do this? In seven years they’ve managed to sell Alisson, Salah, Nianggolan, Pjanic, Marquinhos, Osvaldo, Lamela, Benatia, Gervinho: that’s too much. If Roma kept them, they could win something. The problem is in management.

Benatia is no stranger to beefing with Roma--to the point where James Pallotta called him a poison--but he REALLY didn't pull any punches here. The reality is far more complicated than Benatia's sound bites make it seem, but you can't argue with his essential point—Roma have bled a lot of talent over the past several seasons.

Former Roma boss Eusebio Di Francesco: “I regretted having agreed to sell Nainggolan and Strootman”

Speaking of bleeding talent, former Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco also slung a few rocks Roma’s way in a recent interview, speaking on the sales of Radja Nainggolan and Kevin Strootman.

The midfield of Strootman-Nainggolan-De Rossi midfield was a great midfield, with great technical and mental qualities. I was regretful of having agreed to sell Nainggolan and Strootman. From an emotional standpoint, especially in training, they were important

I’m not sure how much EDF could have done to prevent those sales, but the drop off between the first and second year's of Di Francesco's tenure in Roma was pretty stark, part of which likely due to the losses of Strootman and Nainggolan, as EDF suggests. In hindsight, they probably sold each player at the right time, but show me a manager who could overcome losing two leaders like that and still succeed.

Fonseca: "I really want to stay in Rome for many years

Speaking to Roma TV, Paulo Fonseca spoke about Roma's role within the city's broader attempt to curb the Coronavirus pandemic:

In this difficult moment the club that represents this city is doing everything to help people in difficulty in a form that leaves me very proud. Rome is more than a football club, this is evident especially at the moment. The work that Roma is doing is fantastic. I really like the club, the people who work in the club and the organization of the club. The fans are fantastic. I really want to stay in Rome for many years

My desire to one day see Daniele De Rossi coach Roma is pretty well documented at this point, but I'm continually impressed by Fonseca as a person; Roma definitely fell into a good coach and even better person with Fonseca.

Under: 'I'm not a top player yet'

Cengiz Ünder sat down with Corriere della Sera (link via Football Italia) and touched upon a vareity of topics, including his professional development.

“I don’t think I’m a top player yet, but I will become one...My biggest weakness is in the air, but I need to work hard and improve from all aspects.”

When we think of Ünder, we don't necessarily concern ourselves with his aerial game, but it's good to know that he's cognizant of and working on all facets of his game. Cengiz has had a bit of up and down Roma career (at least in terms of being the next big thing), but he's still just 22-years-old and has every chance to become a top player.

Roma Donates Tablets & Smartphones to Hospitals

In addition to raising funds for the COVID-19 fight in Italy, the club recently donated tablets and smartphones to hospital personnel at three different locations around the city to facilitate communication with their families.

If you know a medical professional at the moment, or happen to be one, thank you for everything you're doing--it hasn't gone unnoticed.


That's all the news that's fit to print today, but stay with us throughout the week as we discuss what makes a perfect footballer.