Il Tempo (Erika Menghi) “The pizza was good” was the only ‘verdict’ given by Pallotta after trying to convince Spalletti to stay at Roma over dinner. But the focus of the meal at the pizzeria San Marco was the coach’s future, and now the key will be determining whether the meeting was a success. It wasn’t a decisive meeting, because despite the smiles and the relaxed faces of those who took part, there remained a deep silence that suggested no decision had been made. Essentially, it was more of an open discussion than a meeting that necessitated definitive answers. “It was a good evening,” the coach said as he left the restaurant, climbing into Massara’s car – not a word more.
Roma’s whole management team was there, united in their aim of tying the coach down: other than the sporting director was general director Baldissoni, CEO Gandini, the president’s right hand man Alex Zecca and even Franco Baldini, technical advisor and Spalletti’s number one supporter. He was the figure that tied the meeting to the coach, and his presence at the meal cannot have gone unnoticed. Despite that he kept himself in the background and, after arriving from London just for the occasion, he preferred to leave the pizzeria by the back door before leaving in a Porsche. Between mouthfuls, it is likely that the Tuscan coach expressed all his doubts about staying across all aspects of Roma. Doubts which the American president is trying to assuage so that they can win together.
There was more to the meeting than just this though; Pallotta is rolling up his sleeves and looking to the east to close the tiresome question of the main sponsor. “We’ve made mistakes in our strategy, we thought we could tie it to the new stadium, we relied on receiving approval for construction a year ago, but there were delays. In recent months the club have received 11-12 offers, in fact just this morning I received a call from an Asian sponsor at 7am. I’m optimistic about next season.”
It’s time to turn the page and fill the empty space on the shirt, and hope that Spalletti follows in the same direction. He will take training as usual at 11.30 today for those players who haven’t joined up with their national teams (Rudiger played 90 minutes yesterday in Germany-England, with Chelsea scouts watching from the stands), while Pallotta will leave at 23.30, a day early, on a flight for Boston. Maybe with a happier view of the future after his dinner with the coach.
In the meantime, Baldissoni and he attended a press conference announcing the club’s new impact report at LUISS, who will have an academic course dedicated to the club’s social impact from October as well as a research centre. “Some people consider me to be a stupid American who came to Italy and bought Roma. I, however, hope to be able to give something back to the city and the club: I feel responsible for both. I’d like to organise friendlies with clubs like Real Madrid at the Circus Maximus or concerts at the Colosseum, events which millions will attend.” The issue of the barriers at the Olimpico: “They will be taken down shortly,” Baldissoni confirmed, “and it will be another step towards re-establishing normality.” Malago: “CONI have been informed, we’re waiting for instructions from the Prefecture.”