Not more than twelve hours ago we asked what we thought was a pressing question: would you retain Luciano Spalletti at the cost of losing Francesco Totti? And while this question was, by its very nature glib and myopic, it did speak to the heart of the matter—this season will be remembered for the Spalletti vs Totti rift, whether or not it was a fabrication of the media is/was irrelevant; it became a story unto itself.
And, well, here we are. Mere hours after dispatching of Chievo in an eight goal thriller, one that gave them a tenuous grip on Italy’s final automatic Champions League qualification spot, Football Italia reports (via Sky Italia) that Luciano Spalletti has informed the club he will exit stage left once his current contract expires on June 30th.
Now, there are a couple problems with this report. First and foremost, not only is there no direct quote from anyone involved with the club,
nor even a link to the original story, (apparently it was a TV report, my apologies) Football Italia falsely assumes Roma has secured second place, which is far from the truth, but that’s really neither here nor there, it was just a gross miscalculation of reality.
But back to the point at hand, Spalletti’s alleged exit from Roma. Without word from Spalletti or even Monchi, this report is pure hearsay and conjecture, so, much as we have with Totti’s impending retirement, we must urge restraint until we hear from the parties involved themselves.
Suffice it to say, losing Spalletti would be a huge blow to Roma. Given all the controversy that we’ve courted this season, we tend to forget what an incredible turnaround he orchestrated last winter, bringing Roma back from the depths of mediocrity to European competition once again, and had Roma not waited so long to can Rudi Garcia late in 2015/early 2016, Spalletti might have made hay of the Scudetto race last year.
As it stands right now—again, assuming this is true—Spalletti is walking away from a club and a team he professes to love, while James Pallotta and the estimable American ownership will be searching for their sixth manager since the 2011 takeover. Not only that, they will have to face the PR shitstorm head on if Spalletti, Totti and even Daniele De Rossi all leave after June.
Some messes you can’t avoid and some messes you create, this one is a bit of both, but there is simply no way James Pallotta emerges unscathed from this one.
This will be ugly.