Roma idol De Rossi succeeds sacked Mourinho

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Daniele De Rossi began a new adventure at Roma on Tuesday as the World Cup winner took over at his boyhood club following the sudden sacking of Jose Mourinho.

The former Italy midfielder, who spent almost the entirety of his playing career at Roma, signed a deal “until 30 June 2024” with the Serie A club hours after Mourinho was dismissed.

“I know no other way but dedication, daily sacrifices, and giving everything I have in order to face the challenges that await us from now until the end of the season,” said De Rossi in a statement.

“The excitement of being able to sit on our bench is indescribable. Everyone knows what Roma means to me.”

A series of disappointing results which have the capital club way off the pace in the Italian top flight this term did for Mourinho, who left Roma’s Trigoria training ground on Tuesday afternoon.

Mourinho was met by a scrum of reporters and a handful of fans as he was driven out of the gates, saying “thank you for these two years” to supporters who chanted his name.

De Rossi is an idol for Roma fans as a local boy done good who played in some of the club’s best teams of the last two decades, alongside fellow icon Francesco Totti.

The 40-year-old, who grew up in a rough and ready beachside suburb of Rome, played for Roma for nearly two decades, winning over fans who saw in his passionate style of play one of their own on the pitch.

He won two Italian Cups and the 2007 Italian Super Cup, before finishing his career at Boca Juniors in early 2020 after less than a season in Argentina.

It is a huge job for someone with little pedigree as a coach however, his only job at SPAL lasting just four months last season.

He was sacked in February last year in a season which finished with SPAL being relegated to the third-tier Serie C.

Mourinho, who has been linked with a job in Saudi Arabia, left Roma after an emotional two-and-a-half years in which he won Europa Conference League in 2022, ending a 14-year trophy drought.


His contract was due to expire in June and although he had repeatedly stated that he wanted to stay on, talks about an extension to his deal never materialised.

Rumours of his departure grew more persistent after Roma were knocked out of the Italian Cup by local rivals Lazio and Sunday’s dismal 3-1 defeat at AC Milan which left them ninth in Serie A, five points adrift of the Champions League positions.

The 60-year-old Portuguese was a shock appointment in 2021, Roma’s announcement of his arrival as the replacement to Paulo Fonseca coming almost completely out of the blue.

He immediately became a huge fan favourite, with his image popping up on walls around Rome as supporters dreamed of success under one of football’s greatest ever coaches.

And in his first season he guided Roma to the inaugural Conference League, a triumph which brought Mourinho to tears on the pitch and made him an almost God-like figure to one of Europe’s most passionate and success-starved fan bases.

He then came to within a penalty shootout of winning back-to-back European finals, Roma falling at the last hurdle against Sevilla in last season’s Europa League.

That was a defeat which both enraged Mourinho and supporters, who attacked referee Anthony Taylor with chairs at Budapest’s Ferenc Liszt airport in anger at what they considered bad decisions which cost their team the trophy.

However the magic between Mourinho and the fans began to wear off this term, with poor results and performances partly due to a raft of injuries and summer transfers which haven’t worked out.

Roma have failed to qualify for the money-spinning Champions League under Mourinho’s charge, a big problem for a club operating under Financial Fair Play constraints which struggles to balance its books.

Source: AFP

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