Ex-Roma sporting director Petrachi recounts his time with the Giallorossi

Andy Mattioli

Former Roma sporting director Gianluca Petrachi was asked to speak about his time at Roma to The Italian director recounted his experience of working with former Roma president James Pallotta as well as ex-Roma coach Paulo Fonseca.

“I am still a Roma fan, I became a fan there and then and I haven’t missed a game since. I’m still in it all the way.”

On Roma fans empathizing with him after his exit:

“The fans waited to do so, then they did it viscerally. Even if my stay was short, as far as I’m concerned it was intense and I tried to give the best of myself, for me it was a battle to win at all costs.”

“Today I see many boys that I brought in that transfer market session where there was really the rubble. Important market operations were made such as Spinazzola, Veretout, Ibanez, Mancini, Smalling and Mkhitaryan, all players who are now the leaders of the team. Of course there is a piece of me in this team still to this day.”

Whether it was a mistake to be so impulsive in his decisions to leave the club:

“I talked about it a few nights ago with my wife. Surely my impulsiveness in making my former president understand what I was doing for his good and for the good of the club didn’t help…”

“If I had been a bit more calm, surely there would have been none of this, maybe we would have had a different ending.”

“I spent 10 full years in Turin with a difficult president and a difficult environment, I moved to Rome with a long list of complaints and a period of great stress, it was a new team with a new coach to support.”

“It is normal that at a certain point, after not seeing the support from the club it meant that we arrived at crossroads and which led to a message that may have been a tad too out of bounds.”

“But I do not back-track on anything, I’m sorry that it ended like this but at that moment an act of force had to be done, just to take that power necessary to work in a certain way and produce something important.”

“Football must be sustainable, you cannot collect 100 and spend 400, my reasoning was precisely to bring young players with qualities to create something important. The journey that I undertook was done in just one year and that’s it, it stopped there…that’s okay.”

On the transfers he regrets making during his time at the capital club:

“The only player who did not pay off in relation to the cost of his price-tag was Pau Lopez, paid 18 million, not 30 as some claim.”

“But I have moved and sold more than 15 players and just as many arrived. I’ve often had around 80 million of budget and brought some 13 players with that.”

“Sure, mistakes can be made. I remember that I did the Kalinic’s operation on a dry loan, I only paid a salary of 2 million. This operation made some people shake their heads, but I didn’t spend 30 million and I didn’t give him a salary of 5.”

“I don’t remember making bad and expensive deals. Even that of Diawara should also be contextualized with the departure of Manolas. Veretout was paid 16 million, I think it was a deal done well, Mancini, too.”

On Fonseca:

“In my opinion Fonseca remains a good coach. He would have needed some additional help, unfortunately with my exit I was not able to give him a hand.”

“In my opinion his Roma played well, he had a good way of playing and we enjoyed it. Then maybe some heavy losses did happen but I don’t think Roma in those years was too far off from the current one, maybe it even had a few more points than the present Roma.”

“He was a coach who had to do his break-in and I think he was doing it well. I argue that the figure of a sporting director is too important, the coach cannot be an ‘all-rounder.’ He needs some advice. We need someone who contrasts his vision, who maybe makes him think. I think that the figure of the sporting director is very important from this point of view, not only for specific market deals.”

On the tension between Dzeko and Fonseca:

“Dzeko was very sensitive, he really cared a lot and in retrospect I can confirm it. Sometimes he would give Fonseca a bit of advice, perhaps said incorrectly, but it was for a good purpose.”

“Obviously, the coach must always be the one who decides. The coach makes decisions and should not be the one receiving advice.”

“There was some small situation, I repeat small things because they are two intelligent people, in the end they cleared it up. Both of them wanted things to go well for Roma, sometimes there are subtleties that the player sees and the manager doesn’t. Then Dzeko is someone who makes himself heard, he does not speak through other people.”

On whether it is impossible to win at Roma:

“It takes a number of components. I’ll give an example with Conte at Inter, he arrived and they all rallied around him, they lined up for him.”

“If you remember well Conte was almost freaking out at a certain moment, he made strong statements and important choices, knocking out some players, but everyone followed him. Surely in an environment like the one of Roma, it takes a coach and a sporting director with experience, an ownership that relies on the first two and an environment that always supports the team, which does not seek excuses to infer and turn against them as soon as things go wrong. “

“To win you need the team, you can even hire the best coach but if he remains alone he can do little or nothing. It takes the team to win, more than the individual.”

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