EDF: ‘Ready for Champions League’

Eusebio Di Francesco discussed his favourite memories of Roma as a player, making his Champions League debut and why VAR won’t rule out errors.

He won the Scudetto here as a midfielder in 2001 and has returned as their new Coach.

“I think I took the right path to earn this chance at the club that gave me the most in my football career,” he told the official Roma website.

“I am proud to be the Coach of Roma, because I had great joy and satisfaction here, so I hope to enjoy those sensations again in this new role.

“A lot has changed since I was last at Roma, including the organisation and way of approaching things, but it’s all improved positively.

“The match I remember most fondly was the 3-3 Rome Derby in 1998-99. We were coming off four consecutive defeats against them and were two goals down. My goal sparked a great comeback completed by Francesco Totti. It turned the tide and is an indelible memory.

“The Scudetto I won here was unforgettable, even if I wasn’t much of a protagonist that season due to a lengthy injury. Roma haven’t won many titles, so to participate in that was extraordinary.”

This will be the tactician’s first Champions League experience after a brief Europa League run at Sassuolo.

“It’ll be a big leap for me, but I am calm. I want my team to face it with determination, not setting objectives. We have to experience it day by day with great enthusiasm.”

Di Francesco was asked about his views of tactically-versatile Alessandro Florenzi, who is on his way back after two serious knee injuries.

“He has this great capacity to adapt to all roles and I’ll try to make the most of that. Players need specific roles, but Florenzi is different to the others.”

This season Serie A will introduce VAR (Video Assistant Referee) technology.

“I like this novelty and we need to evaluate it, but I think there will be problems and errors regardless.”


Fazio agent on Inter rumours

Roma defender Federico Fazio “wants to stay, but you’ll have to ask the club” about an approach from Inter, said his agent.

The centre-back is one of several players who has been linked with a Luciano Spalletti reunion at San Siro this summer.

“Interest from Inter? At the moment the lad is happy, he received a recall for Argentina, has a contract with Roma and wants to stay,” representative Salvador Sanchez told Romanews web radio.

“I prefer not to comment on rumours. Everything that had to be said has already been said: for the player’s future, you’d have to ask the club.”


Sampdoria in for El Shaarawy?

Sampdoria are reportedly interested in Stephan El Shaarawy, but Roma value the winger at €15m.

The Blucerchiati look set to lose Patrik Schick to Inter, after a €30m move to Juventus fell through when the striker failed a medical.

According to asromalive.it, they are considering El Shaarawy as a potential addition to their attack, even if he’s not a like-for-like replacement.

The Italian international is not believed to be part of Coach Eusebio Di Francesco’s plans for this season, but the capital club would still ask €15m.

While that could be within Samp’s price range, they’d have to convince El Shaarawy to accept the move.


‘Mahrez? Leicester not a selling club’

Leicester City boss Craig Shakespeare insists the Foxes “don’t want to be a selling club”, amidst uncertainty over Riyad Mahrez’s future.

Roma have been heavily linked with Mahrez, who had asked Leicester to be sold and spoke in positive terms about the Giallorossi, but Shakespeare made it clear his club would not be bullied into selling any of their stars.

“Every manager’s nightmare is to lose a player in the last 24 hours or on the day of the window [closing] and you can’t get a replacement in,” said the Englishman.

“That’s every manager’s nightmare. There are [big clubs with funds] but we’re a club who don’t need to sell, which is vitally important.

“I think we’ve got owners who want to keep their best players, and the reality is we’re living with the current situation of the transfer window.

“I think every club is living in that reality, so we have to deal with it.

“Of course, we don’t want to be a selling club, we want to add to what we’ve already got … someone could bid and we’d turn it down and we get on with it.

“It’s as simple as that for me and it’s as clear as that. And again, I’m sure I wouldn’t sleep at night if all the scenarios that you put to me happened.

“Support from the club? I think we always have those assurances and I think until we get the bids, we’re never quite sure of the amounts and stuff like that, so I don’t get involved in that too much.

“So I haven’t got to worry about that; I don’t need assurances sometimes because that’s what the reality is.”


Monchi discusses Mahrez, Strootman

Monchi insists “the ball is now in Leicester City’s court” regarding Riyad Mahrez and that Roma will not sell Kevin Strootman to Juventus.

Explaining his stances at Aleksandar Kolarov’s presentation on Friday, Monchi claimed Roma had made “the biggest offer in their history” for Mahrez, while his club had “no interest” in moving on Strootman.

“I’ll begin by saying that the agreement was very quick. I perceived [a desire for the transfer to happen] to be reciprocal,” began the sporting director.

“As for what he can give us, I believe the best answer to be yesterday’s game [a 2-1 defeat to Sevilla]. His performance was that in a nutshell.

“Mahrez? During Defrel’s presentation, I said that Roma had reached a point that they’d considered right for Mahrez.

“We made the biggest offer in Roma’s history, of €30m plus bonuses, and we won’t make any more offers.

“We’ve taken the right and honest steps and the ball is now in Leicester’s court. We await their answer.

“In the meantime, we’re working on other things. I’d say that Roma are 90 percent complete.

“A risk to start the season with only a few defenders? I’m not worr

ied. We have Bruno Peres on the right and plenty of cover on the left.

“As for the rest, I think we have the right players. Now we’ll evaluate whether to make any more moves. We’re pleased with yesterday’s performance, not the result.

“Worried by the rise in player prices? We’ve already addressed this issue. We’re in a situation where we can’t see the end of the tunnel. We’ll see if football is able to keep up this inflation.

“Strootman to Juve? Like I said, we have no interest in selling Kevin and that’s why I can’t say any more than that.”