Roma President James Pallotta spoke exclusively to Susy Campanale about choosing Rudi Garcia, keeping Daniele De Rossi and when he knew this team would be great.
Hello President Pallotta. Are you enjoying the season so far?
I just love the way we’re playing. I could see it in July at the MLS All-Star game the kind of team we were going to have. I said all through August we had a great team this year and nobody believed me, least of all the media in Rome.
They take a lot of convincing!
Yeah. I don’t blame them sometimes, y’know. They’ve got to give me time, as I’ve only been President for 14-15 months and I only started making changes in January. I love the way the team plays now. Forget the wins, I mean the style we’re playing.
What changed so rapidly? The depression in the city in May after the Coppa Italia Final was extraordinary.
Well, because of who we lost to – Lazio, obviously – but it has cemented my view on what we were going to do going forward. I was very, very upset for a day, but from then on thought let’s start making the changes we needed to make.
Does that mean this season we’re seeing the first real Pallotta’s Roma?
It really started by bringing in Italo Zanzi as the CEO at the beginning of January. It was my decision to let Zdenek Zeman go in February. I wasn’t happy with the style for five months previously. The Coach has a great history, but it’s not my style or how I wanted the operation to be run. The assistant Coach Aurelio Andreazzoli that we had was going to be an interim Coach anyway, unless he completely surprised us and won every game, in which case I’m not sure what would’ve happened! He did a great job for us in the interim and is still with us, proving very, very useful on the technical side.
Rudi Garcia was brought in as the new Coach…
Rudi Garcia was obviously my decision. I asked sporting director Walter Sabatini what other Coaches were around, not just the Coaches who have gone through the system in Italy and are the same old – even though there are respectable Coaches – but we wanted to do something different and have someone that we thought could be at Roma for 10 years, looking at the Alex Ferguson type model at Manchester United...
The full exclusive interview will appear in the latest issue of Soccer Italia. Click here for subscription details.