Il Tempo (Erika Menghi) It finished with a handshake, a promise that he will soon sign a contract. “I’m not a director of Roma yet, but I will be soon,” Totti said as he left the Hotel De Russie, where he met with Pallotta yesterday evening. It was the last step required before putting pen to paper on his new contract that will tie him to the Giallorossi for another 6 years. Not as a player any more, of course, but he won’t be hidden away in a corner of Trigoria: the president seems to have convinced Francesco to be a public face of the club, given how easily recognised he is around the world, but his principle role will be operational, in the technical area.
Corriere dello Sport (Guido D’Ubaldo) James Pallotta was speaking freely at the end of the game. The president stopped in the mixed zone and made a remarkable announcement. “If the stadium isn’t done by 2020 I’ll be forced to go back home, you won’t see me in the stands any more. Roma will have to find another owner. The stadium is an opportunity for the city, one of the most beautiful projects in the world, but if the politicians don’t want it then what can we do? There should be news before 15th June, there shouldn’t be problems.”
La Repubblica (Matteo Pinci) On 24th May, 2008, Barack Obama hadn’t yet been elected President of the United States, Rome was about to elect Alemanno as mayor, and the following month Spain would win their second European Championships. 3275 days have passed since then, and Obama is now a tourist in Milan, Alemanno is the opposition and Spain have won everything; but the Coppa Italia that Roma lifted on that day 9 years ago, beating Inter 2-1 at the Olimpico, was the last trophy the club have been able to celebrate. The football world has radically changed since Spalletti first took charge, but the team that bears the capital’s name seems to have been paralysed. The coach – after his successful ‘exile’ in Russia – is the only survivor along with De Rossi and Totti, but despite all the talk and the investment from the club’s owners, nothing has been won – although their league record is excellent: if they finish ahead of Napoli, they will have finished 2nd for the 4th time in 9 seasons, practically once every 2 years. But there’s no trophy for that.
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.
La Repubblica (Matteo Pinci) Pallotta and Spalletti are growing increasingly distant. Geographically, at least, given that the coach – shortly after 9.00 yesterday morning – left on a train bound for Tuscany, where he will stay until Thursday. Given that it is the international break, the coach has allowed his exhausted squad 3 days off, which will also allow the coach to calm his nerves. Whoever is expecting a big meeting between the 2 will be disappointed though. No meetings have been scheduled, and time is running short for them to sit down and talk. The president will leave again on Friday, so he and the coach should meet the day before: this is what is being suggested in the corridors of Trigoria.
Beppe Grillo, the leader of the 5 Star Movement – the party that control’s Rome’s city council – has weighed in on the Stadio della Roma debate by saying that he would be happy to see Roma build a new stadium – just not at Tor di Valle.
Il Tempo (Alessandro Austini) Silence. For a long time now, James Pallotta has kept quiet – unusual for him – and doesn’t intend to voice his thoughts for the time being. Neither he nor Roma want to comment on the political chaos that has erupted around the new stadium project: no one from from the Giallorossi intends to comment and feed the institutional war going on between the city council and the regional council while the public agencies meetings are still going on. Yesterday it was Michele Civita’s turn: “The problem isn’t the space requirements,” the regional councillor explained on the fringes of another meeting in response to the attacks made by Paolo Berdini, councillor for urban planning. “Roma’s stadium needs to hold 60,000 people and must have the infrastructure and services in order to support that amount. It’s short-sighted logic to think that space requirements must be the same [for all projects, whatever the size]. In any case, we’ll make a decision by 6th March.”
This is the predicted date for the conclusion of the public agencies meetings, but there’s still the chance of another delay that will push this decision date back further. While we wait to see the next moves made by Berdini, the project’s enemy number 1, on Thursday the meetings will start to consider the archaeological effects and effects on the landscape: it will be the chance to see how it will affect the concerns raised by the superintendent of Archaeology, Fine Arts and Landscape. Pallotta will follow the developments from Boston, but he has been strongly tempted to reply to Berdini in the last few days and will shortly intervene personally in the process: he will be back in Rome within the next month. The president, in fact, will be granted the customary Christmas blitz, though the dates of the meetings are yet to be finalised. The first purpose of his visit will be to defend the stadium project, which seemed close to being approved but is now – at least judging from recent quotes – back in the balance. Pallotta and co. will ask for a new meeting with the M5S councillors and in the meantime will expect that the process proceeds as it legally should: the substantial modifications requested by Berdini isn’t what the public agencies meetings should be used for. However, he is open to reconsidering certain aspects of the project in order to finally reach an agreement.
First duty, then pleasure – Roma will organise their Christmas party during Pallotta’s visit. There are 2 possible locations at the moment: the favourite is the old barracks on via Guido Reni, the second option is Fuksas’ newly-opened Nuvola, which the Giallorossi president visited during his last visit to the capital in September. Don’t rule out him going to Turin for Juventus-Roma (17th December) or to the Olimpico the next week for Roma’s home game against Chievo, the team’s final game of the year.