James Pallotta confesses he could have dealt with Daniele De Rossi better but disagrees Roma could have relied on the midfielder next season.
Pallotta was heavily criticised after Roma chose not to inform De Rossi of their decision to release the midfielder until just a day before his departure was announced.
“Did we get it completely right with Daniele in how we dealt with him? No, I don’t think we did. Our view was that this was probably going to be his last year,” concluded the club President’s open letter.
“Let me give you a scenario that shows why it was such a difficult decision. Let’s say we have Daniele and another defensive midfielder. We only have 24 people on this team, so we have two defensive midfielders.
“What if, in the third game of the year, God forbid, the other defensive midfielder breaks his leg? What does the team do then?
“Daniele had said he would like to play 10 to 15 games next season. So what does the team do then? You can’t buy another player – the transfer market doesn’t open until January.
“It’s almost impossible to bring up a 17 or an 18-year-old and throw them into one of the most important positions on the team in a League like Serie A.
“So what do you do? And if you’re in Champions League or Europa League, that’s three games a week. That’s a physical impossibility that Daniele himself admitted.
“While I would love to have Daniele on the team, you only have two positions and if one gets hurt, Roma is screwed. It’s just as simple as that.
“You can’t move an attacking midfielder into a defensive midfielder position. That is a specialty position. You can’t do it. That’s our rationale – it’s just realistic. It’s a football and team decision. It’s not about a single player – as much as Daniele is a great, great player and a spectacular person.
“Daniele has been very loyal to AS Roma and AS Roma has been very loyal to Daniele. People cannot question our loyalty, because we said, ‘Daniele, we’d like to have you as part of AS Roma for the rest of your life’. That’s pretty loyal to me. We never said, ‘Goodbye. See ya later. Have a great life.’
“We want Daniele to be part of this club forever and hopefully he will be. I made the incredibly hard decision not to go to Daniele’s last game because it was his day and I didn’t want to detract from that.
“If you want to protest me, that’s fine but I didn’t want to take any attention away from what should be a celebration of De Rossi’s brilliant career and it was.
“I’ll have my conversations with Daniele in private. We exchanged texts on Thursday morning and I’ve invited him to come and see me after his vacation and spend some time with me.
“So if you think there’s hard feelings or we’re not going to speak or anything, you’re dead wrong. It’s the same thing with Francesco. I’ve invited Francesco and his family to come to stay with me and I hope they do.
“I know a lot of people might think that the club is in disarray. That’s a foolish thought. Senior management is on the same page.
“Maybe some people are upset that we – Guido, Mauro, myself and others – have been making tough decisions over the last six months to correct some issues. There are things that have happened that are not the way that I would like this club to be run.
“There’s inevitably going to be some hard feelings. There’s going to be people who are going to say things, who are going to spread rumors as if they know what’s going on. The truth is, we are on the same page and we are going to get better.”
Another bone of contention for fans has been the American’s absence from the capital …
“As you know, I haven’t been in Rome this year. I was so upset since last August with how things were going that I thought if I went it would not help the situation. That was a serious mistake and I will be there next season.
“I should have been there more. It’s obvious to me that there are certain people who are unhappy that they can’t manipulate, blackmail or berate me enough to get me to sell the team.
“I understand the history of almost 3,000 years of Rome and I know how this works. If people think they’re going to drive me out, it’s just not going to happen.
“We want to build something great here and so do the people who are working at the club every day. I think the vast majority of fans want the same.
“We have an amazingly dedicated staff and it hurts them when things don’t go well or they read that everything is in turmoil.
“It’s a shame that there are some people in Rome who I know are trying to manipulate the fans against Roma and me.
“Unfortunately for them, I’m not going anywhere. All we care about is building a great and successful Roma and nothing and nobody will deter me from my objective.
“Forza Roma. Jim.”