This week saw the surprise/forced resignation of Luciano Spalletti, as he left Roma to be replaced by former Juventus Coach Claudio Ranieri. The decision would not have been a huge surprise if it were to happen in the summer, however it occurred just two games into the season. About everything that can go wrong is doing so in Rome. The club is broke, low in morale, and lacking the vital additions that Spalletti wanted in order to at least keep the Giallorossi on the same level as their main competitors. This funding was not forthcoming, and he saw another season of criticism for a team that in the end is not really his, more a case of the best he has left. Many reasons have contributed to his downfall, however there is another aspect that sometimes gets overlooked. It’s worth taking note of the atmosphere around the club at the moment. There have been rumours that the relationship between Spalletti and Francesco Totti has not been at its best. Certainly the Coach has come out after the game on a number of occasions to suggest that Totti should track-back more and do his share of defending. After the defeat to Juve last Sunday, he compared the work-load of il Pupone to that of Amauri and Vincenzo Iaquinta, saying that he could do more. He is also not the first Roma Coach to have problems with the No.10’s workload, as Fabio Capello had his own problems with his Totti and Antonio Cassano combination.
Additionally Spalletti encountered more personal problems with Vincenzo Montella and ‘keeper Alexander Doni, where arguments occurred both on and off the field. All these little episodes have played their own part in creating a bad atmosphere at the club, and upon the knowledge that no new personnel would be arriving on Tuesday, both Spalletti and Rosella Sensi knew that nothing was going to change, and both came to the same decision. He is now replaced by a Roman, Ranieri, who himself was dismissed at the end of last season amongst arguments and character clashes at Juventus.
Was I the only one who was rather shocked at the fine handed out to Adrian Mutu – £14.7m. Unsurprisingly the Romanian has replied that he does not have that kind of money, and so now risks being banned by FIFA until the full sum is paid. A fairer sum would be his earnings from the seasons at Juve when he would have otherwise been under contract at Chelsea, but even so, this ruling seems to have come out of nowhere. Before fining a player a sum like that, there should have been rules in place that prevented Mutu from joining Juventus in the first place. If Chelsea were deemed fair in sacking him, for a breach of contract, then they should have been given the choice to either make him wait until his contract would have expired, or accept some kind of payment from Juventus. Either way, to allow a player to move from one European club to another, and then hand him a huge fine, does not seem the most sensible decision.
Serie A is already on a break, as gli Azzurri face Georgia away and Bulgaria at home in the next two rounds of World Cup qualification. There has not been much emphasis placed on the opponents throughout this week, but the opportunity to put players and Coaches under interrogation has not been missed by the Italian press. Fabio Cannavaro became the latest Italy star to anger Jose Mourinho, by declaring that players like Inter’s Davide Santon and Mario Balotelli need to play first team football if they are to feature in the World Cup at the end of the season, rather than be benched for more experienced players in the big games. Mourinho predictably did rise to the bait, correctly pointing out that Nicola Legrottaglie and Sebastian Giovinco should also move on from Juventus by Cannavaro’s reckoning.
Elsewhere, Marcello Lippi’s calls to please respect his decision to omit Antonio Cassano from his Nazionale squad has fallen, as happens every international break, on deaf ears. Having cooled his temper and performed with great consistency, the Bari bomber may have thought he had done enough to earn a place in the squad. Indeed a poll on the Gazzetta dello Sport website shows that 85.9% of the Italian general public do not agree with his decision – can he ignore so many people? Basically yes, and he will continue to do so.
Georgia vs. Italy
Gazzetta Football Italiano
Week 2 –
Welcome back – August 28, 2009
International Week –
Spalletti stutters out – September 4, 2009