Roma is a city full of myth and legends, in fact its very name stems from perhaps the grandest myth of them all, the fratricide of Remus at the hands of his brother Romulus. While that is 99% likely complete nonsense, it set the tone for the Eternal City, one in which man, myth and legend become conflated to create and destroy identities. Was Julius Caesar really born via the surgery that would one day bear his name? Did Nero really play the fiddle while the city burned? Did Caligula really invent wife swapping?
We’ll never know, but for better or worse the persistence of those myths, as well as the age of the city itself, has come to define not only identities and reputations, but history itself.
In terms of modern Roman lore, there isn’t a persistent myth plaguing the city so much as a long assumed prophecy, one that never seems close to fruition. We’re talking, of course, about the assumed return of Carlo Ancelotti, former Roma midfielder turned three-time Champions League winning manager. While Carletto has trotted the globe leading many of the world’s best and brightest teams to the pinnacle of success, many Romans simply assumed it was only a matter of time before Ancelotti brought his magical touch to the Eternal City.
Well, today we heard it straight from the source; it nearly happened. Well, not nearly, but Roma at least put out some feelers back in 2015. Today Ancelotti let the cat out of the bag, admitting that James Pallotta did indeed reach out to him two years ago to take the helm at the Stadio Olimpico, presumably after Rudi Garcia had been canned.
If we hearken back to December of 2015, you’ll see that this move was never really in the cards. The final(ish) straw for Garcia’s career was bowing out to Spezia in the Coppa Italia on December 16th of that year, a mere four days before Ancelotti was appointed as Bayern Munich’s manager. So while we can presume Pallotta inquired about Ancelotti’s availability and interest at some point prior to the 16th, the timing of those respective managerial changes was simply too tight for this to prophecy to every be fulfilled, to say nothing of Ancelotti’s wage and personnel demands.
That’s not to say it won’t happen in the future, but in the here and now, Eusebio Di Francesco has held the doubters at bay, putting Roma ahead of their point pace from last season with a match in hand, while Ancelotti seems destined to rescue the Azzurri for at least the next ten months or so before landing at, oh, let’s say AC Milan next August.
However, whether or not EDF keeps up this pace is really irrelevant. Recent history has shown that the average shelf life of a Roma manager is something on the order of 15 months, so Carletto may yet get his shot at leading Roma.
Or maybe not, prophecies seldom come true but that won't stop us from dreaming.