A look at Roma’s recent rise to glory: a sleeping giant in Italy’s capital

Ever since winning their last Scudetto over twenty years ago in 2001, Roma has been plagued with inconsistency both on and off the pitch. Through the previous two decades, the club faced various ownership, financial, and player-related issues, resulting in a nearly 15-year trophy plague beginning in 2008.

However, the tides shifted in Roma’s favor following the arrival The Friedkin Group, who acquired the club from former president James Pallotta in August 2020.

Led by father-son duo Dan and Ryan Friedkin, the American consortium cited the club’s untapped as one of the primary reasons behind their acquisition.

“We feel that Roma is somewhat of a ‘sleeping giant’ – there is no reason that, in time, this club can’t seriously compete for trophies at all levels,” said Ryan Friedkin in his first official interview.

“With the fans, and the city behind us, anything is possible at Roma. The club is very special.”

Adding, “While we will run the club with the professionalism, discipline and dedication of any of our businesses, this is first and foremost a passion – a passion for the city, for the team, for the people, and for football.”

The arrival of new ownership in Rome shifted the opinions of football fans and bookmakers alike, including bet365 who are offering a bonus for New Zealand players.

The Special One Arrives

Less than nine months into their tenure, the Friedkin’s rocked the Italian and European football landscape by appointing former Chelsea, Inter, and Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho in May of 2021.

The news served as a massive statement of intent by the Giallorossi’s new ownership group and forced the rest of Serie A to take the club’s new project serious. 

Despite having been sacked by Tottenham Hotspurs less than three weeks prior, Mourinho quickly accepted Roma’s offer, signing a three-year contract with the club.

“We are thrilled and delighted to welcome José Mourinho into the AS Roma family. A great champion who has won trophies at every level, José will provide tremendous leadership and experience to our ambitious project,” wrote the Friedkin’s in the club’s official announcement.

“The appointment of José is a huge step in building a long-term and consistent winning culture throughout the club.”

Trophy Drought Ends

Upon beginning his work in Rome, Mourinho and general manager Tiago Pinto sought to overall the team’s roster by offloading many of the older, overpaid players taking up space on the wage bill such as Javier Pastore, Federico Fazio, Pedro, Pau Lopez, and Edin Dzeko.

Roma then made one of the biggest transfer market splashes in their recent history by acquiring England international Tammy Abraham on a permanent deal from Chelsea. They also welcomed Portuguese international shot-stopper Rui Patricio, ending the nearly four-year long goalkeeper carousel that began after the sale of Alisson to Liverpool.

The team struggled with inconsistency during its first seven months under the Special One but ultimately found their footing in the Spring. As their hopes for a top four finish faded in April, Roma made it clear their focus was on winning the inaugural UEFA Conference League. 

After eliminating Premier League side Leicester City, the Giallorossi advanced to the final of the competition, which would be played on May 25th against Feyenoord. 

A first half goal from Nicolo Zaniolo was all it took for Jose Mourinho’s men to secure the victory, capturing the club’s first European title and subsequently ending their near fifteen-year trophy drought.

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