Tuesday November 17 2020
Petrachi 'happy to return to Roma'

Former Roma sporting director Gianluca Petrachi has said he only met former patron James Pallotta twice and revealed he would be 'happy' to return to the Stadio Olimpico.

The Giallorossi sacked Petrachi in June and the former sporting director has offered to drop the lawsuit against the club if they take him back as their director of sport.

The club has not yet found a new sporting director and Petrachi spoke about his time with the Giallorossi in a long interview with the Corriere dello Sport, having also discussed Roma’s pursuit of Antonio Conte before the ex-Chelsea coach joined Inter.

Petrachi, who also worked at Torino, opened up on why he asked for a compensation of €5m, the transfers he completed during his time at the Olimpico and the complicated relationship with former President James Pallotta.

“At the root, there’s a lack of communication between Pallotta and me,” Petrachi told Il Corriere dello Sport.

“I saw him twice in total. We never spoke on the phone. I don’t speak English. I’m lazy and then I don’t have a good memory of my time in England [with Nottingham Forest].

“[Director Franco] Baldini was the first to call me, we had known each other since we were footballers.

“I’m whimsical, but powerful. He’s a bit cool. Franco has greatly appreciated my work as a sporting director.

“I wanted to have a single point of reference. If it wasn’t Pallotta, it had to be [CEO] Guido Fienga. Franco, as an intelligent man, never allowed himself to influence me beyond the normal technical confrontation.”

Petrachi said the higher-ups had asked him to ‘rejuvenate’ the Giallorossi during his time at Trigoria.

“Pallotta and Baldini asked to rejuvenate the team, lower costs and create conditions for capital gains.

“I did many low-cost operations. In Turin, they called me Mr Free Transfer. Another priority was to recreate a healthy environment.

“The last Scudetto was 20 years earlier. There were obvious problems.”

Petrachi was sacked after a blazing telephone row with former President Pallotta and he spoke about the difficult farewell and added he would be happy to return to Trigoria.

“I’m not a diplomat. I don’t know how to deal with relationships. I don’t call the directors, I don’t allow myself.

“It’s not my way. So they write that I attacked Zaniolo, because I had already decided to sell him.

“It wasn’t like that, to the point that Zaniolo is still with Roma and is a patrimony of the club. I had all the newspapers against me.

“[Pallotta] is an intelligent man, a visionary. But football is a world in itself. He trusted too much the wrong people.

“Today, Pallotta perhaps realised how many lies they told him about Petrachi. In an interview, he quotes and thanks everyone but me.

“A provocation. Hence my message: a protest, but also a cry for help. I wanted a man-to-man clarification. For the three months I was harassed and sidelined.

“Petrachi no longer counted for nothing. I wanted to reclaim the world of Roma and Trigoria especially.

“At that exact moment the personal attack started. I didn’t hear from anyone. They also told me that if they changed ownership, I would come back. It didn’t happen like that.”

Petrachi revealed he had lunch with new owner Dan Friedkin in December and is happy to see the new patron more involved in the club.

“A courtesy lunch in December, nothing more. They seemed enthusiastic about buying Roma. I find their presence very positive.

“For a footballer, it’s very important to see the boss who has chosen you and pays you. I don’t like that it finished, in spite of myself, in court.

“I had no choice. I read incorrect stories about it. The €5m I ask for are gross and are the consideration for a two-year contract I still had at Roma.

“Not a cent more. If they called me, I would explain my reasons to the new owner. I would be happy to return but, I must be honest, I wouldn’t do it under any conditions.

“I don’t change. Petrachi must do Petrachi.”