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.
Leggo (Francesco Balzani) Nainggolan and Dzeko have fallen at the final hurdle. Spalletti received the worst news possible from the two fitness tests yesterday ahead of a crucial match against Juventus – as well as the suspended Strootman, he will have to do without the Bosnian and is at risk of not having the Belgian available either. The two most frequently used players in the squad: Radja has played 4042 minutes, Edin 3862. The latter is certain to miss out on his duel with Higuain given that the tests showed “a 1st degree calf strain in his left leg”. He is expected to be out for 10 days, and may be back in time for the penultimate game against Chievo. There’s a ray of hope for Nainggolaan who reported a “swelling in his left calf” in San Siro. His conditions will be evaluated on a day by day basis, although a recovery in time for Juve seems unlikely. Two muscular injuries that are the result of Spalletti’s lack of squad rotation in the past weeks and which have now forced the coach to change his lineup for a game against one of the best teams in Europe.
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.
Kostas Manolas has spoken to Premium Sport about both his future and that of team-mate Radja Nainggolan. Both players have been linked with summer moves away from Roma, but Manolas stressed that his own future is entirely in the Giallorossi’s hands and that the directors know what they need to do if they want to keep him.
Corriere Dello Sport (Guido D’Ubaldo) Radja Nainggolan is a man of his word. From the Belgium training camp, he has asked the club not to sell him. He is one of the jewels in the crown who risk being sold in the next transfer window, but he’s already made his choice, which is a lifestyle choice. “I’m very happy in Rome, my family is happy and the weather is usually good as well. Sometimes choices are made for money, others are made for the quality of life, and that’s important for me as it’s something you can’t replicate somewhere else. What’s more, if I was to go and play in England I’d have to start again from scratch, when I’m currently very happy in Rome. You never know what can happen in the future though.” Nainggolan is waiting for a call from Roma to improve his contract and thereby lower the possibility of going to earn a lot more in China, but he certainly isn’t lacking offers. “I’m not thinking about it at the moment, but you can never say no at this point. You have to evaluate it at the right time.” His agent Alessandro Beltrami is in close contact with the Giallorossi directors, who have assured him that they will honour their promise of an improved contract, even though there’s no urgent rush given that his contract expires in 2020. Up until now there has been no call from them, but Nainggolan is open to earning a lower wage than he is being offered in England in order to stay at Roma. He is also happy to wait until the end of the season to hear from the club. He wants to win at Roma, he has an excellent relationship with Spalletti, who is unable to do without him. The 2 got along immediately and the connection between them goes beyond the football pitch: they are 2 strong characters who get along perfectly. Continue reading
Radja Nainggolan has never been afraid to speak his mind. The Roma midfielder, talking to a group of fans, has said that he “hates Juventus” and has guaranteed that the Giallorossi will end their trophy drought this season. The midfielder’s quotes follow, watch the video (in Italian) below.
Il Tempo (Tiziano Carmellini) It’s OK to dream, and it’s free. Roma followed up their positive start to the year with another crucial three points away in Udine, but most of all they made the most of Juventus’ slip up as the league leaders were defeated by Sousa’s side in Florence. The defeat showed that, after all the effort that they have put into recent games, Juventus (like all great sides) can be beaten and the leaders now find themselves in a slightly more fragile position.