clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

A Portuguese Postlude: Pinto and Mourinho Have Officially Left the Building

After almost three years, the Portuguese connection at Roma has ended. And what a ride is has been.

AS Roma Training Session Photo by Luciano Rossi/AS Roma via Getty Images

Tiago Pinto and José Mourinho. For nearly three years, both men were the beating heart of AS Roma. Transfers, tactics, line-ups, press conferences, trainings, social media—they did it all. The Portuguese connection was everywhere, and while it wasn’t always sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows (that song is now on repeat in your mind; you’re welcome), their legacy won’t be forgotten. In a good or bad way, that’s up to you to decide. But I ask people to give it time before making a final judgment.

Two European finals, one trophy, José’s red cards, referee brawls, and player conflicts, Pinto’s long and winding transfer negotiations, boy, it was one hell of a ride between 2021 and 2024. In just a couple of weeks, both men have left the club. One was (perhaps surprisingly) sacked, and the other left with mutual agreement.

The search for a new Director of Sport continues, and Daniele De Rossi was brought in as caretaker. A totally different character than Mou, ‘one of the boys’ and Roman legend. A change of formation and parting gifts Angeliño and Tommaso Baldanzi by Pinto. Roma already looks and feels like a different team than the one in December.

There’s a new hope, some much-needed realism, the longing for a change. More focus on youth and quality instead of grinding out results with PSG or Premier League rejects. A whole new chapter begins. There’s still a ton of work to do for Daniele and the new DS, but the quick turnaround by the Friedkins is remarkable.

As I said earlier, maybe it’s too soon to judge the work of Mourinho and Pinto. Did they reach a ceiling? Did they underperform? Was it a realistic target to reach CL with all these financial restrictions? Without injuries and a little bit of luck, would Roma have won the EL, or was Mourinho still with us?

Time will tell. We need to wait and see where Roma goes from here. We still don’t know if they left Roma in a worse shape than 2021. For example, imagine Roma doesn’t qualify for the CL for the next couple of years and can’t even win a Coppa or Conference League. Would people look different at Mourinho’s tenure? After all, he did restore Roma’s European reputation and added something to its palmares.

Imagine that Baldanzi indeed becomes the heir of Dybala and one of Roma’s finest players ever. Ndicka gets sold for €50 million—a 100% net profit for the club. Aouar finally unlocks his true potential. Svilar turns into a reliable keeper. Would people look differently at Pinto’s resume in 2025 or 2026?

One thing that’s certain is that José and Tiago gave it their all. I don’t doubt their effort, and I believe both really wanted to get Roma back alongside the big boys. And the fans joined their enthusiasm—a packed Olimpico week after week. Focusing on our Primavera is always a plus in every fan’s book.

While their European track record was good, even great, Serie A has sadly been a massive letdown for two-and-a-half seasons now. Two 6th place finishes with the same point total: 63, just one point better than 2020-2021. When Mourinho arrived, I hoped Roma would have a better record vs the big teams, but I didn’t see a lot of difference. They even struggled against smaller teams like Hellas Verona, Genoa, or Salernitana this season.

During this season, Roma was mostly floating around places 6-10. Consistently inconsistent. Dull, uninspired. Simply not good enough when you look at the talent at Mourinho’s disposal. Something had to change sooner or later. Of course, there were always those damned financial restraints keeping Pinto from going full Super Saiyan and Mourinho from building a replica of his Inter or Real teams. But there are frankly no excuses if you’re 7th or 8th with a frontline of Dybala and Lukaku.

In the end, there was little or no improvement in results and the quality of play. The cycle has simply come to an end. But to say it’s an overall failure? I’m not sure—too many what-ifs. There are things Roma will still enjoy for a long time, like Bove’s resurgence or the celebration videos in Rome after the ECL win. Fond memories.

Let’s wait a bit; let it all sink in for a while before we evaluate both men’s legacies in Rome. In the meantime, we can focus on supporting Dani and the boys for the remainder of the season.

And perhaps the most important of all: Obrigado for everything José and Tiago. Best of luck with your new adventures.