Il Tempo (Alessandro Austini) While it wasn’t a convincing performance, Roma returned from Verona with a smile on their faces and with second place still in their grasp after securing a victory that could be worth millions of Euros to them. Napoli’s win against Fiorentina later that evening ensured that the Giallorossi’s fight for automatic qualification to the Champions League would go down to the final day against Genoa, 28th May, which will mark the end of Totti’s playing career.
Il Tempo (Erika Menghi) The Egyptian Roma strikes again. Two goals from El Shaarawy and two from Salah in Verona were a signal of the rebirth of the former and the latter’s efficiency.
Corriere dello Sport (Guido D’Ubaldo) The future in 270 minutes. Roma will be playing for theirs over the next 3 games, the last with Spalletti on the bench. But the coach wants to leave having accomplished something very important to the club: finishing second, which has been in the balance for the last few weeks after seeming certain in October. The third last game of the season will be crucial, with Torino hosting Napoli and Roma hosting Juventus. If Napoli don’t beat Mihajlovic’s team, the Giallorossi can even afford to lose against the Bianconeri after having picked up 6 points in the last 2 games. But Sarri’s team are in great form and Roma need to avoid taking any risks and aim to pick up 3 points. In order to do that, Spalletti is going to have to cobble together a starting 11. But he is hoping to have both Nainggolan and Perotti back, who picked up injuries last Sunday evening in San Siro. Strootman will be absent as he serves the second match of his suspension, as will Dzeko, who picked up a muscular injury against Milan. The coach will be forced to reshuffle his midfield and attack, but Rudiger will be back in defence, allowing Roma to have their first choice back 4 again with the German on the right, Manolas and Fazio in the centre, and Emerson Palmieri in his natural position at left back. De Rossi and Paredes will be in central midfield again, just like in San Siro, where the Argentine had an excellent game. Nainggolan should play as a trequartista in the 4-2-3-1 formation, with Perotti playing as a false 9 in Spalletti’s striker-less attack. Last season, this striker-less attack revitalised Roma and spurred them on to finish 3rd.
La Gazzetta dello Sport (Chiara Zucchelli) Last year, with 8 goals in 18 games, he was the unexpected surprise of Roma’s second half of the season, who then paid €13 million to sign him permanently from Milan. This year Stephan El Shaarawy hasn’t lived up to the promise and the expectation of 12 months ago, but the numbers are at least on his side. He is in fact the team’s 4th highest scorer after Dzeko (37 goals), Salah (17) and Nainggolan (13), but he has played a lot less than any of them. He has only just hit the 2000 minutes mark, while the Belgian has played twice that, Dzeko almost twice and Salah 1000 minutes more.
Corriere dello Sport (Furio Fedele, Alberto Polverosi) Yesterday Spalletti played 4 forwards as well as Nainggolan, who can be considered a trequartista – or at least an attacking midfielder – by now. The 5 Giallorossi players contributed as follows. Edin Dzeko: a double and an assist for El Shaarawy, 5 shots of which 2 were on target (the goals). Mohamed Salah: an assist for Dzeko, winning a penalty and forcing a red card (for Paletta). Diego Perotti: a shot off the post and 4 shots. Stephan El Shaarawy: a goal and 3 shots in half an hour. Radja Nainggolan: a shot off the post and 5 shots. The Belgian was eventually substituted after sustaining muscle fatigue.
Corriere Dello Sport (Guido D’Ubaldo) In the 7th minute of the second half, when the Olimpico had just been silenced by Mertens’ second goal, Spalletti made a double substitution to try and get his team back into the game.
La Gazzetta dello Sport (Chiara Zucchelli) “There’s not much to say but there’s lots to do.” Exactly a year ago, on 26th January, 2016, Stephan El Shaarawy came to Trigoria saying these words. Following his unsuccessful spell with Monaco, he and his brother had landed at Fiumicino the night before to be welcomed by general indifference. The striker signed for Roma with two aims in mind: to show that, at 23 years old, he could still reach his potential, and to get into Italy’s squad for the European Championships. He achieved both during an outstanding 6 month spell: 8 goals and 2 assists in 18 games, scoring with his right foot, his left foot and his head; he has an exemplary relationship with the fans; and his relationship with Spalletti was a carrot-and-stick one, but the coach made both El Shaarawy and Roma soar.