Roma sporting director Ramon Monchi spoke to El Mundo ahead of the Giallorossi facing Real Madrid in the Champions League. These are his words:
After only a year you reached a Champions League semi-final. Is it safe to say a new Monchi was found?
A Champions League semi-final and third place in the league is satisfying. I grew a lot professionally, after Sevilla I needed a new motivation and a new challenge.
Where did you start?
Learning about the club, the city, the atmosphere, the philosophy, the internal mechanisms and the media repercussions that the club have on the fans.
You’ve gone from one passionate club to another.
Romanisti are incredibly passionate and can be compared to Sevilla supporters. You must take this into account when you carry out your work, without worrying if it’s an unpopular decision.
Such as the sale of Salah or retirement of Totti.
They are two different situations. Francesco’s retirement was something that had to be addressed. It took a while to make it happen but, in the end, he did so and now he is a key figure in the club. With Salah, there was no other choice, he was one we had to sell. We had to deal with Financial Fair Play and we had to cash out as much as possible so as not to incur any penalty from UEFA. We have not only sold Momo but also Rudiger, Mario Rui and Paredes.
Last year you faced Chelsea and Atletico, this time Real Madrid. How do you see the Blancos without Ronaldo?
It is not easy to fill the void left by a player of that level, but despite the departure of the Portuguese champion, the team remains phenomenal.
Are some of their players too expensive for you?
I have always worked with clubs that bought players at an appropriate price and with room for growth.
For example Justin Kluivert.
He is 18 years old and will be very important for the future of European football. He is ambidextrous, he can play on both sides, he runs and scores. He is an investment. My work focuses more on profiles rather than on names. I rely on the technical and tactical needs of the manager, be it Di Francesco, Emery, or Sampaoli.
Di Francesco does not seem like the classic Italian manager.
Italian football is not synonymous with catenaccio, there are examples like Di Francesco, Conte, Allegri. I chose Di Francesco because he respected the three characteristics I look for in a coach: first of all he knew the environment, he was a player in the team that won the Scudetto. The second is that he is Italian and having a foreign sporting director was enough. The third is that he is a manager capable of helping players grow, as demonstrated in the past. He did so and in the summer we renewed his contract for another year.