SPALLETTI STEPS DOWN AS ROMA COACH

Linked with a move to In­ter Mi­lan

New Straits Times - - Sport -

farewell on Sunday.

Spalletti rel­e­gated Totti to the bench for most of the sea­son, hand­ing him a few cameo ap­pear­ances, and said at one point that he would not have taken the job in the first place if he had known how awk­ward the sit­u­a­tion would be­come.

With his con­tract ex­pir­ing on June 30, Spalletti’s fu­ture be­came the sub­ject of spec­u­la­tion af­ter a poor run in the spring when they were beaten by archri­vals Lazio in the Coppa Italia semi-fi­nals and lost to Olympique Lyon in the Europa League.

The sea­son also be­gan badly when Roma failed to ad­vance to the group stage of the Cham­pi­ons League af­ter los­ing to Porto in the fi­nal qual­i­fy­ing round.

Spalletti, whose first stint lasted from 2005-09 and in­cluded two Coppa Italia ti­tles, has re­cently been linked with a move to In­ter Mi­lan.

Roma pres­i­dent James Pal­lotta said Spalletti, who led them to third last sea­son, had made a “sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion.”

“Un­der his stew­ard­ship this sea­son, the team has won more Serie A points and scored more goals (90) than any side in Roma’s his­tory,” Pal­lotta said of a cam­paign that saw them fin­ish four points be­hind Ju­ven­tus.

“This club is on a con­stant path of growth and that will con­tinue with the ap­point­ment of a new coach who shares our val­ues and phi­los­o­phy, and who will con­tinue to help us take AS Roma for­ward.”

AS Roma be­came the first Serie A club to be for­eign owned in 2011 af­ter an Amer­i­can group fronted by Bos­ton busi­ness­man Thomas DiBenedetto com­pleted a takeover.

Roma have yet to win a ma­jor tro­phy un­der the new own­ers, al­though they have fin­ished sec­ond to peren­nial cham­pi­ons Ju­ven­tus three times in the past five sea­sons.

Al Ain’s Omar Ab­dul­rah­man

An­toine Griez­mann

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