Il Tempo (Alessandro Austini) It’s more than a new start, it’s a new era. 6th July 2017 is a historic day all because of one high-profile absentee: after 25 seasons (plus 3 in the youth teams), Totti’s car hasn’t pulled up to the gates of Trigoria. At least for now, because his future will still be at Roma, albeit in another guise. What that may be isn’t clear yet and won’t be until he meets the directors, a meeting that he has preferred to push back: once his new role has been clearly identified, the pre-agreed 6-year contract will be ‘activated’; whether this will happen during the US tour or later remains to be seen. It could be said, however, that Totti has already completed his first task as a ‘director’: 1 month ago he met Mancini in Saint Tropez and the two, who are very close, discussed Manolas and Paredes among other things. In the end, only the Argentine went to Zenit, but Francesco’s ‘recommendation’ will have had its use.
Now the captain’s armband passes to De Rossi, and for the moment the spotlight falls on Eusebio Di Francesco, who won the scudetto with Totti as a player and now inherits a Roma side from Spalletti that broke the club’s all-time points record. The new coach is perhaps the only ‘attraction’ of the pre-season training camp at Pinzolo that begins tomorrow, after the 31 players selected for it undergo medicals and tests at Trigoria and Villa Stuart today. The team that leaves for Trento on the train and then for the Dolomites on the coach isn’t the real Roma.
Looking down the squad list, only 9 of the 31 players selected will definitely be part of Di Francesco’s squad for the first big chance of his career: Alisson, Lobont, Juan Jesus, Bruno Peres, Gonalons and Perotti, plus the trio of players recovering from injury – Karsdorp, Emerson and Florenzi – who will train separately at Pinzolo. On 15th July they will be joined by the internationals Fazio, Moreno, Manolas, De Rossi, Pellegrini, Strootman, Nainggolan, El Shaarawy and Dzeko, as well as Skorupski and Iturbe if they aren’t sold beforehand. The next day they will leave with their team-mates for the US tour. Yesterday, meanwhile, Di Francesco finalised the last details, together with Monchi and the rest of his staff, for Pinzolo, where the fans will only be able to watch one new signing – Gonalons – in action during 2 friendlies – on the 11th against FC Pinzolo and on the 14th against the Czech side Slovacko on the final day of the ritiro – and to say that the Roma team that will be lining up against them will be experimental would be an understatement.
A lot of youngsters are in the squad in order to allow Eusebio to properly organise his training sessions, including Tumminello who – unlike Donnarumma – has signed a professional contract before putting his boots back on – as well as players who are only passing through once more like Castan, Sadiq and Gyomber (who showed exemplary behaviour by renouncing his holidays) and Gerson, who is waiting to see what happens in his future. The coaching staff has also been overhauled: the new assistant coach is Tomei, aided by Pierini and Romano, fitness coach Vizzoco who joins the Americans Norman and Lippie as well as Franceschi and Ferrari, while Savorani will continue as goalkeeping coach. The new doctor is Andrea Causarano, the team manager will be Gianluca Gombar, ahead of the arrival of Morgan De Sanctis who will take over as club manager in August, and Juma Qaddourah will help out with logistics. Vito Scala, however, will not be leaving for Pinzolo, and now that he doesn’t have to focus on working with Totti on the training ground he will carry out other tasks. Another sign of the times.