‘No doubts about new Roma stadium’

Roma Vice-President Mauro Baldissoni has insisted that the club’s new stadium will go ahead as planned, despite the arrest of a councillor.

Marcello De Vito – President of Rome city council’s assembly – was arrested on Wednesday morning after he allegedly took bribes from Luca Parnasi, contractor for the Stadio della Roma before he was detained himself last year.

“It’s always sad to learn about news like this as a citizen, but we are not surprised by Ielo’s words,” the club’s official website quoted Baldissoni as telling Sky Sport Italia.

“The Stadio della Roma project is a huge and complex undertaking, but it has been approved by every administration and nobody found any discrepancies with it.

“The Conferenza dei Servizi was completed 15 months ago, so it is hard to imagine that anyone is only now uncovering some issues – and in reality they are not, as prosecutor Ielo has confirmed today. There should not be any doubts about Stadio della Roma.

“It is an approval the club has already secured, to continue with as soon as possible. If there has been evidence of possible corruption then of course we are very disappointed; we hope that those who have been accused are able to prove their innocence – and if they are found to have done wrong then they should pay the consequences.

“But there is also a collective responsibility, on the part of those who run the city, that we make sure this process is approved and concluded. Also because an investment like this, of more than a billion euros, should be a priority for the city and the country.”

Prosecutor Paolo Ielo quickly assured neither the club nor the project were linked to the corruption case…

“No, and there is no reason for that from a judicial standpoint,” continued Baldissoni when asked whether the stadium faced more delays.

“We have worked hard, along with the Roma Comune, dedicating a lot of time and energy to complete the final details required to reach the final urban variation vote.

“We have made it known in recent days that a few weeks should be enough for us to complete all the outstanding planning procedures required – and still expect that to happen. “We have been working with the Comune to complete everything required to close the final documentation before the end of April. 

“Jim is a successful businessman and investor and he has shown that throughout his life. He is used to weighing up the pros and cons of every initiative, but I must say that what he has had to deal with in Rome has probably gone beyond even what he anticipated.

“I think as citizens we need to thank him for his commitment to this process: he has always maintained his belief in the potential of this country and this city in particular.

“From this perspective, as well, we have a responsibility to help an individual who is ready and willing to invest in Roma like this.

“So even if, at times, he weighs things up when it is taking so long to move forward with a project like this – ultimately he has decided to see it through to the end and, as I said before, we have a responsibility to help him and all those who have decided to invest in this city.”

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Schick ‘sorry’ for Monchi exit

Patrik Schick is ‘surprised and sorry’ to see Monchi leave Roma and claims the club were robbed by officials in the Champions League.

Roma were controversially denied a VAR review when Schick went down late on against Porto, and the 3-1 defeat culminated in the exits of Coach Eusebio Di Francesco and their sporting director.

“It’s never nice when a Coach leaves and other people lose their jobs,” the striker told isport.cz.

“It could be a doctor, Coach, staff member, physio… These people have gone, and now Monchi too.

“His departure hit everyone. I didn’t expect him to leave. He was a very honest sporting director, he supported us and always defended us.

“It surprised us a lot, I’m sorry he left us. Everyone liked him, no-one had any problems with him.

“He followed us in training every day. Anyone who had a problem could go to him.

“After the first leg, it seemed like we could really go through. I’m still sorry. Since then many things have changed at the club.

“After the penalty given to Porto, I was convinced that the referee would go to the VAR, given he did on that occasion.

“We didn’t understand why he didn’t even look. He received some information and that was it.

“We were very disappointed and didn’t understand it because he didn’t even look at such an important moment in the last few minutes.

“Last season we went out to Liverpool in the semi-finals. In the return leg we only missed a goal to reach extra-time and we weren’t given two penalties. It was similar this season.”

Claudio Ranieri has since returned to the Olimpico as a caretaker, and the Czech was asked about the 67-year-old’s impact. 

“Ranieri’s trying to infuse us with positivity, to wipe the slate clean a bit, and he’s succeeding in doing that,” he explained.

“He’s an honest Coach, even though I’ve only known him for a few days. His first task was to clean things up and put the pieces back together.

“He spoke to me before the match against Empoli. Obviously I was happy with what he said about me. I scored a goal and we won.

“Coaches leave teams all over the world. Now we’ll see what changes. We have to go on like this until the end of the season. After that, we’ll see which direction the club want to go in.”

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Totti & Vialli are Italy ambassadors

Former Italy stars Francesco Totti and Gianluca Vialli will be the Azzurri’s ambassadors at Euro 2020.

The FIGC announced on Wednesday that Totti would be an ambassador for the city of Rome, which will host four games at the continent-wide tournament.

Vialli, on the other hand, will represent volunteers in the Italian capital during the competition.

Totti scored nine goals in 58 caps for Italy, winning the 2006 World Cup, while Vialli played for La Nazionale at three major tournaments between 1985 and 1992.

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Roma join Lonwijk race

Roma have joined the race for PSV Eindhoven creative midfielder Justin Lonwijk, already targeted by Eintracht Frankfurt and Leeds United.

According to Tuttomercatoweb, the 19-year-old talent has caught the eye of Roma’s new director of sport Ricky Massara.

Lonwijk could be a bargain, as his contract is due to expire in June, but PSV are working to agree a new deal.

The Giallorossi face competition from Eintracht Frankfurt and Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United.

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Roma favourites for Maripan

Roma are reportedly leading West Ham United in the race for Deportivo Alaves and Chile defender Guillermo Maripan.

According to the Daily Mail, the Giallorossi have been in negotiations with his club over the last few weeks.

The 24-year-old centre-back is very tall, standing at 6ft 4ins (1.93m) and has been in Spain with Alaves since the €1m move from Club Universidad Catolica in 2017.

It’s likely Maripan would be a reinforcement in the Roma defence, as Kostas Manolas is considering options this summer, with Federico Fazio, Juan Jesus and Ivan Marcano disappointing.

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