Exclusive: Reputable Corriere Dello Sport journalist Roberto Maida talks I Giallorossi, Totti’s resignation and Pallotta’s regime

AS Roma last season finished sixth in the Scudetto with 66 points, albeit three points adrift from securing UEFA Champions League action for the forthcoming 2019/2020 season. It was a relatively disappointing season for I Giallorossi, who finished third place in Serie A the season prior, whilst also reaching the UEFA Champions League semi-finals in the 2017/2018 season.

Furthermore, La Lupa witnessed two separate managers guide the club throughout the course of the 2018/2019 season, Eusebio di Francesco and Claudio Ranieri. Di Francesco, revered for his stylish brand of play, recorded a 52.8% win percentage during his second tenure with AS Roma (June 2017 until March 2019), whereas the counter-attack driven, ever-pragmatic Ranieri registered a 50% win percentage (March 2019 until May 2019) during his second stint with La Magica.

However, during a five year period ranging from the 2013-14 season to the end of the 2017-2018 campaign, AS Roma had finished no lower than third in the Scudetto (2nd – 2013-14, 2nd – 2014-15, 3rd – 2015-16, 2nd – 2016-17, 3rd – 2017-2018). Furthermore, AS Roma advanced beyond the final sixteen of the UEFA Champions League on one singular occasion in the last five seasons (2017-2018), albeit under four different managers (Claudio Ranieri, Eusebio di Francesco, Luciano Spalletti and Rudi Garcia).

Last season, however, which marked the second tenure for di Francesco with the Serie A giants, saw the Pescaran relieved of duties. Di Francesco was subsequently replaced by Claudio Ranieri until the end of the 2018/2019 season. The amiable gentleman, Ranieri, born in Rome, previously managed AS Roma from 2009 until 2011.

Elsewhere, meanwhile in Italian domestic cup competitions, AS Roma have reached the Quarter-finals twice (2018-2019 and 2014-2015) in the past five seasons. AS Roma were eliminated from the UEFA Champions League last season courtesy of a 4-3 aggregate loss to Primeira Liga giants FC Porto. However, the Giallorossi reached the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia in the 2016-2017 campaign before losing 4-3 on aggregate to bitter rivals, Lazio.

In AS Roma’s final 12 Scudetto encounters last season, the club won six, drew four and lost two (2-1 against S.P.A.L on March 16 and 4-1 against Napoli on March 31). However, AS Roma remained undefeated thereafter the 4-1 loss against Napoli, which ultimately witnessed the club taking 19 points from a possible 27. However, after Ranieri’s departure from AS Roma, the club hired Paulo Fonseca on June 11. The 46-year-old Fonseca won the Ukrainian Premier League for the third consecutive season last season with Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk; Fonseca’s Shakhtar Donetsk won the Ukrainian Premier League in the 2018/2019 season seven points ahead of runners-up Dynamo Kyiv.

Roberto Maida, esteemed Serie A journalist for Italy’s mainstream national daily newspaper, Corriere dello Sport, briefly caught up with FOX Sports Radio 96.9 FM/1340AM’s Dean Perretta to briefly discuss AS Roma’s direction and ambitions for the 2019/2020 season, coupled alongside I Giallorossi’s recent untimely disassociation with Francesco Totti, as well as the James Pallotta regime and, of course, Paulo Fonseca’s most recent appointment as Head Coach of AS Roma. 

Dean Perretta: Roberto, what’s your overall opinion on the managerial appointment of Paulo Fonseca by AS Roma and, of course, the expectations for I Giallorossi next season?

Roberto Maida: The club has to start from scratch (with the recent appointments and changes in personnel). And after having received so many rejections from other coaches searched (after Claudio Ranieri left at the end of the season), from (Antonio) Conte to (Gian Piero) Gasperini, (the club) has chosen a smart solution (Paulo Fonseca) at a time of difficulty (after failing to qualify to the UEFA Champions League). Fonseca has quality and can help Roma to regain a place in the Champions League.

Dean Perretta: It’s now been eleven years without a trophy for AS Roma. How frustrating has it been for the club and indeed for the fans during this period?

Roberto Maida: Fans were disappointed (last season). Not only for lost victories, but also for the management of this company that has created much ideological distance from the people. The cases – (Francesco) Totti and (Daniele) De Rossi, who have led more and more people away from (James) Pallotta’s management.

Dean Perretta: What are your thoughts on Francesco Totti resigning from his role as Director at the club?

Roberto Maida: I think he (Totti) made the right decision (to leave after 30 years of association with AS Roma). He had no power in a hierarchy and the company had no confidence in him. Even before he became executive (at the club), the project to make him (Totti) stop playing was born in 2011.

Dean Perretta: Speaking of AS Roma legends, a number of clubs such as AC Milan, Fiorentina, MLS club LAFC and Argentine giants Boca Juniors are all interested in signing Daniele De Rossi. With regards to De Rossi’s future, what is the latest reaction and developments throughout Rome surrounding this story?

Roberto Maida: (Daniele) De Rossi has not yet given the final answer (with regards to his future). It could be announced around July 1. It is said that if he continues to play, it’s because the Italian Football Federation offered him a job in the technical staff. As De Rossi in the future wants to be a coach, he could accept such a solution (with the Azzurri).

Dean Perretta: Finally, AS Roma competes in the UEFA Europa League next season. How much pressure is there on Fonseca to deliver this trophy to the club next season?

Roberto Maida: The Europa League is very interesting to fans. The Italian club instead considers (this competition) just because it produces few revenues…very few compared to the UEFA Champions League. Not surprisingly, no Italian club has never won (the UEFA Europa League) since the new formula (of the tournament) was created. So I do not think this will be the tournament where (Paulo) Fonseca will be called to get the best results (throughout the season to remain in his job).