Ex-Roma boss Paulo Fonseca details escape from Ukraine

Andy Mattioli

Former Roma manager Paulo Fonseca was recently asked to give an account of his successful escape from the Ukraine.

The Portuguese technician spoke to La Gazzetta dello Sport, and near the end of the interview he briefly thanked Giallorossi fans and ownership for the support as well as gave his opinion on Roma’s current season compared to last year’s.

“The whole thing was a nightmare. It was February 24th and I had to leave at 10am for Portugal with my family, when at 4h30am we heard the first bombs fall.”

“We got scared. My friend Srna (Shakhtar’s director) invited me to go to the Opera hotel, where his team was. We took refuge in a bunker. There was De Zerbi, there were Brazilian players with their families. The children slept on the floor in sleeping bags. We were afraid.”

“Then my embassy organized a mini-van and in three families we left for Moldova. It was a terrible trip. Thirty hours without ever stopping, sometimes lined up at 5 km/h, with planes passing over our heads. Checkpoints everywhere, while the people around found neither fuel nor food. Only when I arrived at the border with Romania did I begin to relax, so to speak.”

“My wife cries all the time, because we have friends and relatives all over Ukraine. Now, through my federation, I have become an ambassador for peace and we strive to find housing, work and school for refugees. A small part, of course, of the two million who are fleeing.”

When asked about football, Fonseca replied, “I hope to coach again in one of the top 5 leagues. I was close to Fiorentina last summer, but then nothing came of it. I admit that I like Italy.”

When asked to compare his Roma to Mourinho’s, the Portuguese boss shook his head and said, “I do not want to make comparisons. Different situations, different investments.”

“Abraham, for example, is very strong, and can become even stronger. I’m just saying that, despite the pandemic and the change of ownership, we had our own identity and we were one of the teams that played the best brand of football.”

“But let me thank the many Roma fans who wrote to me in those dramatic days, as did so many players, managers and the Friedkins themselves.”

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