For anyone associated with the Giallorossi, the saying “No Totti, No Party” will go with them, with warm emotion of course, to the grave. For former Roma Coach Luciano Spalletti, however, it is a phrase that he is glad he will not hear again anytime soon. It was a party that he continually organised, yet was never his own. It wasn’t just Francesco Totti who caused these issues, Rome isn’t an easy place to work. Now he has swapped the Eternal City for Milan and a new challenge at Inter, but has he swapped one problem group for another?
Whilst not innocent, you have to give Spalletti some credit. Maybe it was the icy Russian winters at Zenit St Petersburg that strengthened him, but after one spell at Roma and knowing the internal issues, he went back. It was not an unsuccessful time, yet it seemed like he regretted it from the start, although arguably he was one of the few who could really manage to control Totti. The ‘King of Rome’ was transformed from ‘Numero Uno’ to a devastating super sub. Credit to both parties, but Francesco left in the right way.
It wasn’t only him that caused Spalletti a problem, as after September 2016 he was heard ripping apart most of his team due to their lazy attitude after a defeat to Torino. This was just one of many such incidents, but despite the problems, Roma finished well. As the Coach travelled to Appiano Gentile for the first time, he would have known what awaited him.
Whilst Inter have a group of players within the squad that either don’t want or be there or are simply not doing enough for the team, there is no ‘Totti-like’ figure. Mauro Icardi, for all his worth, value and ‘social media escapades’, still performs on the pitch. With the ultras issue now “under the carpet”, he is fully committed. So, what really awaits the Tuscan tactician?
It is perhaps best to separate the problem groups into three sections: the group who can leave with dignity, the problematic second and the third could be tagged as ‘dead wood’. There have been departures as Inter moved quickly to meet Financial Fair Play requirements, Ever Banega being the biggest name to leave, Gary Medel also departs and these are players with a mutual desire to move on.
Spalletti has moved quickly to transfer list the ones who fans of the club been frustrated with for a long time. These include Andrea Ranocchia, Davide Santon, Jonathan Biabiany and Yuto Nagatomo. Whilst their attitude over the years has been committed, they have lacked the ability to represent the club well enough. It seems the Coach has acted.
The final issue is the futures of the Stevan Jovetic and Gabriel ‘Gabigol’ Barbosa, both talented, but seem to have issues with their professionalism according to multiple Coaches over recent years. Jovetic looks like he is also on his way out and it seems Gabigol at first would be loaned out, but has travelled with the team, so maybe has another chance. Spalletti is not messing around.
For a man who has taken on Rome twice, it seems that he is in no mood to have any discontent in his camp. Back in the Eternal City, the party was Totti’s and, whilst invited, Spalletti wasn’t really welcome. Now this new rollercoaster belongs to Luciano and Luciano only - if you don’t want to be on it, then you can get off.