You know, one can grow very tired with constantly dishing out a spanking to other people. It´s hard business, I won´t lie to you and while the rewards are nice, the price is usually equally taxing. You should never stay dead in the water, always on alert, always ready switch things up if needed. Always vigilant for your own personal feelings, always ready to let go in an instant if the situation called for it. Knowing all this through my years of experience I noticed that my players were not the only ones feeling jaded before the new year. I found out that even the costlier companions failed to spark me and everything felt stale like a marriage. For me to feel this way, I knew that me and my team were rallying for the last stand for this spring leg and we were going to go off with a blast.
In January They Feast
While being very surprised with the fact that I had not been very substantially raided at any point during my stay in Rome, I had been bleeding out one drop at the time over the course of three seasons spent with the team. For the most part, I have managed to plug the holes and fill the caps with new signings and building new ways of playing football to suit my current line up every time needed. This January proved to be a challenge since they finally struck for the balls and the heart with force.
Kostas Manolas with 59M upfront and potential 64M in total to Man Utd.
Kevin Strootman with 34.5M straight up to Man City
Two players that had the most influence on my success every season were happy to leave and go love the Manchester weather for the money. It didn´t bother them that we were the reigning UCL and Serie A champions and on our way to possibly repeat those accolades. No, these lads wanted to go Premier. I found out a couple of days later that they had left their families for good and were already dating some of the former John Terry try-outs. Fucking twats. The betrayal called upon some actions since they were actually very integral part of my team, therefore I needed to find something to replace that tenacity.
The market was actually very dry on DC´s and people were asking nutty prices on even very unproven talent resulting me to look for different solutions to replace mister ManoCockopoulos. Came up with a two parter. I called Riccardo Marchizza back from loan and fielded Grzegorz Krychowiak as a BPD on cover duty in the middle. Moved Rodrigo Caio on the left DC on stopper and Juan Jesus on the right on stopper also. Marchizza and Fazio would cover for these three even though the latter is slow as F…Fazio can be. Also, Marchizza was going to get additional starts to keep his development going forward. So with these moves, I was hoping to cover up for my loss in the defence.
Strootman, while being an awesome player and our captain was not so hard to replace after all. We were already strong in the middle and I also got one player to fill in if everything else failed. In all honesty, if I didn´t know that this was going to be my last season with Roma, I probably would not have bought him at all. Spending for fun I guess.
Nabil Bentaleb came in from Schalke for 40.5M to serve as our spine in the middle. Maybe a bit overpaid but like I said, it was a comfort buy mostly.
We had manned the towers, occupied doors, fed the cows and loaded our guns. It was time to clash with the natives for good and show them that we were not going to give our lives easily. Starting with our engine coughing as we played a draw with Napoli in our first outing in January things looked a bit brighter from there on.
As you can see from this picture both Strootman and Manolas lingered with us to the very end of transfer deadline before jumping the ship in the last hours of daylight. Solid start, defeating the sinking Juventus and having an absolute thriller with Milan our spring was looking good from the get go.
Nobody actually knew what happened in the Genoa game. We just did not score for the sake of it. Their substitute Taarabt scored on the 85th and it was in the bag for them. Also in the bag was all my player´s car and house keys, cell phones and I even confiscated some of the better-looking companions which quite unfortunately for them were waiting for their piggy banks in the parking lot when we arrived from Genoa. Had a two-part thriller with Chelsea on the UCL and I was happy to see Antonio going ape shit for real reasons for once. Good times.
Advancing in the TIM cup and also in the UCL. Our home game against Leverkusen was a sitter but they folded pretty gravely in front of their home crowd giving us a chance to keep the dream alive. Serie A was proving out to be boring when other larger teams kept falling over in the hands of the small. Had also my last Derby della Capitale with Lazio and went 4-1 without even lubricating them. So Team Paolo Di Canio´s record against me in six games:
6 losses, with a 16-4 goal difference.
To add to the injury, there is also irony in the player development front.
Must be hard for him.
As I promised in @Twitter, Bayern was merely a collateral damage in my wake towards the UCL trophy. Also went nauseous with my former team Sampdoria in the TIM cup final. Had the complimentary draw with Juve to say they were alright but enjoyed actually a fairly easy UCL final against PSG with 2-0 scoring at the both ends of the match. And that´s all she wrote.
28 wins, 6 draws and 1 loss in 35 matches in all competitions played on the spring leg should be a fine testament to leave behind now that everything was said and done. It was actually a very quiet train ride back from Berlin. I think most of the players knew that this was our last effort together. Most of them would stay in AS Roma hopefully and keep building on the foundation we laid down on three seasons. As for myself, I was not sure what I would do after handing out my resignation to the board. They took it in silence, maybe a bit shocked, I don´t know. I took the first flight to Budapest I could get and I was going to go dark for awhile to clear my mind for what was coming for me next. I knew that I wanted to go for something that was ready and only needed ass kicking. I was not in a mood for long overhauls or build ups or teams in weird places for that matter. I had heard from my sources that there were changes coming in the future for video game football and it would mean the end of what we had. Everybody would start a new. All would be forgotten and forgiven. Sounded almost too good to be true.
The FINN FM/AS Roma 2016-2019
3 x Serie A champions
2 x TIM Cup
2 x Uefa Champions League
2 x Supercoppa di Lega TIM
1 x Uefa Super Cup
1 x Fifa Club World Cup
3 x Miglior Allenatore AIC (Manager award)
By the way, I saw this when I left the dugout after the Verona game. I think I had seen this happening earlier also. Can´t remember what was it all about though.