This season for Roma is one that promises much. With José Mourinho no longer in charge at Inter, Claudio Ranieri’s team have a real chance to seize the Scudetto.
Last season: 2009/10 was a successful year for il Lupi. After a horrible start to the season that climaxed in Luciano Spalletti’s resignation, the team thrived under Claudio Ranieri and put up a strong challenge for lo Scudetto, making Inter work all the way to the last day of the season.
2010 summer transfer campaign: The transfer scene has, once again, largely passed Roma by. Fábio Simplício has been brought in from Palermo but, as a central midfielder, is adding depth to possibly the strongest part of the squad. The big name transfer was the return of Adriano to Serie A, but despite the obvious talent that the Brazilian has, his temperament will surely worry the Giallorossi faithful. If he can stay focused and committed, Adriano could score 20+ goals this season. If he cannot, he could severely disrupt the team. The major loss has been that of Marco Motta. Not only has the Italian left Roma, but he has ended up at rivals Juventus. This leaves the returning Cicinho and the solid Marco Cassetti fighting for the starting slot at right-back. Neither is likely to give sleepless nights to opposing wingers.
The Coach: Last season was a wonderful campaign for Claudio Ranieri. Often criticised as a manager who gets close but never wins, Ranieri now has the chance to disprove that slight with a full season in charge of the club he supported as a boy. His understated management style seems to sit well with a Roma side that has struggled for consistency in recent times, and he can be a calming influence on the squad.
Anchorman: Juan is one of the most consistent centre-backs in the world. Since joining from Leverkusen in 2007, he has become an indispensable member of the back four. The arrival of Nicolás Burdisso last season saw Philippe Mexès, and not the Brazilian, lose his place in defence – highlighting his importance to the team.
Playmaker: Francesco Totti, after all these years, is still the heart of Roma. The team performed well without Er Pupone last season, but when in the side he adds another dimension to the attack. Teamed with Mirko Vučinić and Adriano, Roma could have the most dynamic strikeforce in Serie A this season.
Hot prospect: The talent that Marco D’Alessandro has is no secret after a couple of strong performances as a substitute, notably against Juventus in the 2009/10 season. However, Roma fans should not get too excited as the youngster is going to spend this season on loan at Bari, hopefully gaining some first-team experience.
2010/11 prediction: Roma are one of the most unpredictable teams in football. Looking at the first-team, they have the ability to beat any other side in the league, but the squad depth has to be a worry. The full-backs, with the exception of John Arne Riise, are a real concern and the loss of Motta further weakens this area. On the plus side, the addition of Adriano makes the attack even more potent and Jérémy Ménez has the chance to really prove his worth to the team. One player that has to get more time on the pitch is Mexès. Ranieri’s decision to play Burdisso over the Frenchman last season was truly confusing, and if he does not get enough chances this year he may choose to leave.
Football Italiano’s prediction: 2nd