Both Roma and Juventus left the Champions League this year after controversial decisions, yet while the Giallorossi protested Trent Alexander-Arnold's handball, Edin Dzeko's unawarded penalty and Liverpool's offside third goal in the first leg, the fans were gratefully singing "Grazie Roma", proud of what their heroes achieved on the pitch.
One can argue that the Old Lady are normally more ambitious, however there was something charming about La Magica this season. It is what turned Captain Daniele De Rossi's quotes from being glad he will face Shakhtar Donetsk as Roma "would already be beaten before kick-off," against a couple of teams to a leader claiming that “next year we need to try to win the Champions League, because we are not much worse than them Liverpool.”
It is the magic that turned James Pallotta, an American who once invested his money in the NBA and declared he hates football, to dive into a fountain in Rome’s Piazza del Popolo after a historic Romantada over Barcelona.
The team's roster had some epic performances. Alisson Becker was the only keeper to save more than 40 shots in the Champions League, the defence kept five home clean sheets, Cengiz Under scored away in Shakhtar and assisted the goal that took Roma to the semi-finals for the first time in three decades and Edin Dzeko rejected Chelsea to reach this Champions League milestone for the first time in his career.
Nonetheless, three specific men need to stay for the Roman dream to one day turn into reality.
There is a man working on the small details and the fine tuning, he is the one that took over the club six years ago, President Pallotta. The President started a commercial team, a digital team, a TV station, a radio station and he was behind creating studios for the club.
Pallotta's plan is to undergo a cultural change in the club, as he hired a data team of advanced analytics to exploit opponents and more importantly transfer targets.
Along with the data team, Pallotta hired Monchi, a leader in the transfers field, already showing a glimpse of what he can do last summer by signing Cengiz Under and Aleksandar Kolarov.
Excluding transfer fees and taxes, last season Roma’s operating revenue was €171.8m which stands 24th-highest in Europe. If the club was hoping to make that budget form a European monster, their only faith had to be in the former Sevilla genius.
Last but not least is Eusebio Di Francesco, the first former Roma player to Coach La Lupa from the start of the season since Fabio Capello.
Knowing the 48-year-old was coached by Capello himself in the early 2000s and that he was part of the last troops to win Serie A with the club, showcases where he got all the hunger to guide the Giallorossi to this historic campaign.
It's not easy to keep a clean sheet against Atletico Madrid, Chelsea and Barcelona at home. It could be considered nonsense to start with three centre-backs for the first time in a return leg against the Blaugrana and no one will ever be able to explain how this guy implemented a warriors' spirit in a team that lost 4-1 in the first leg against arguably the best team in the world and kept fighting back with Liverpool when they were 5-0, 6-2 and 7-3 down, until the very last minute.
A formula needs to be established for these three men to continue at the Capital, as Monchi has to help Di Francesco with new players especially at the back, Pallotta needs to invest more money to help Monchi get the players and the President needs to receive a formal approval for constructing a new stadium, so that Roma turns on the long-term from a selling club to ferrous European side.