Sunday April 17 2011
'Astronomical US interest' for Roma

One of the new Roma owners, James Pallotta, reveals there is “astronomical interest” in America for the Giallorossi.

On Friday night Thomas Di Benedetto and his consortium completed the €70m takeover of the club.

“We intend to build a team that can win the title and bring Roma back to where they belong,” said Pallotta, who now is a minority owner of both the Serie A side and NBA team the Boston Celtics.

“I am an Italian-American and feel very Italian. My father always used to tell me: ‘You are first and foremost an Italian' and my eldest children speak the language.

“My father's mother was from Rome, while my grandfather's family was from Calabria. On my mother's side, the family tree goes to Bari. My family love soccer, but didn't know I would be involved until a week ago.”

Di Benedetto is the second American investor to make a bid for Roma, as George Soros already employed Pallotta as a go-between during his failed attempt.

“I took an interest in Roma after the failure of the Soros negotiations, but decided to do this myself when Di Benedetto called me. Tom is the chief and makes the decisions, then I and another two partners are in the executive committee.”

The summer could well be spent in the United States, as this takeover has sparked excitement across the Atlantic.

“In the last three to four days we have received numerous calls from soccer figures in the United States,” continued Pallotta.

“They'd like Roma to do a tour here and there is astronomical interest, especially in cities like New York, Boston and Chicago. With Italian-American owners, that is sure to increase. Roma are known throughout the world.

“I'd like nothing better than to see a game between Roma and Liverpool at Fenway Park,” as both clubs are now under the umbrella of the Fenway Sports Group.

“I think I'll be in Rome by the end of May, hoping to see the last game of the season.”