Nicolo Zaniolo’s recent exit from the club following a transfer request the player handed in earlier in January caused a major disruption in how Roma supporters perceived the 23-year-old after months of rumours regarding a potential renewal with the club.
After his move to Galatasaray, Zaniolo’s mother, Francesca Costa, spoke to Corriere dello Sport, calling out Roma and their treatment of her son.
“My son is not a madman or a traitor, he has been painted as someone he is not. He’s a boy, he made mistakes like everyone else, he will make others, we will all do, but that’s not the story that was told recent weeks because it wasn’t convenient for some,” Costa said.
“In the last month we realised that our time in Rome was over and that staying here would be impossible, unliveable. Before, however, we believed we’d remain here for a long time.”
“What happened? After the goal in the Conference League final in Tirana we considered the possibility of leaving, we talked about with the club and were told that they’d need €50-60 million to let him go.”
“Such offers were never made for him and we happily stayed in Rome,” she continued. “But he expected a contract renewal with the wages he asked for.”
“Others in the team had their contracts renewed but for some reason his renewal never came.”
“Nicolò, as the weeks go by, begins to realise that he is no longer part of the project. Roma tell him that in June they want to sell him, he begins to feel sidelined. And that’s how it all comes crashing down.”
“They said that he refused to play for Roma, that he is a traitor, they called him crazy without perhaps telling about when he played with a broken shoulder.”
“The club did not behave fairly toward him. Instead it got really bad: when in January he was not called up with Fiorentina he was weak, he was shaking. All the doctors found the truth. I don’t know if it was flu or stress, but my son wasn’t well.”
“The coach made the decision to keep him out because he saw that something wasn’t right with him. He wasn’t well and that makes a world of difference to a player like him.”
“Bournemouth? It’s not true that they offered him €5 million. He was ready to reduce his salary to join either Milan or Tottenham but those clubs failed to reach an agreement with Roma.”
“We chose Galatasaray because they made him feel wanted after Roma abandoned him,” she concluded.
“Neither I, nor my son, nor anyone in my family is against the fans. We will always be grateful to the Romanisti, always respectful, this I want to be clear. They’ve been very critical with us, but it’s not their fault. They believed what they were told.”
“We are grateful to the fans, although I laugh when I read that the fans and club were patient with him during his injuries. What does patience have to do with anything? He’s got a contract and is part of the team. It’s only natural for the club to be patient.”
“Since he moved, only three teammates reached out to him. It’s a shame because he used to have a good relationship with everyone on the team,” she concluded.