The timing and manner of Jose Mourinho‘s dismissal came as a surprise more than the sacking itself, with results and mood in the locker room a problem for some time.
In the last press conferences, he appeared disengaged, down in the dumps, almost resigned. He was unrecognisable.
Mourinho was, is and probably will forever be one of the faces of world soccer, which is why his dismissal is always something of a shock. On May 4, 2021, he had been chosen, called and brought to Rome by President Dan Friedkin, the same man who in recent weeks contributed to the decision to put an “end” to his tenure in the capital.
Despite Mourinho’s continuous declarations of love for the team, the fans, and the environment, Friedkin was not pitied or won over by the Special One’s words. Quite the contrary. After a difficult period in which Roma took 6 points out of 18 available, came the decision to sack him.
How did we arrive at this decision? That is the real point of the question. Not whether or not it was right to fire Mourinho, because the team’s performance had drastically declined and ninth place in the standings was not in the least bit acceptable.
Budapest broke Jose and us
A section of Roma fans are not taking the decision to fire Mourinho in January well at all, because in their opinion, the Portuguese has given so much to Roma that he at least deserved the chance to work until June, for better or worse.
The truth, or at least that is the thinking of the person who’s writing this piece, is that the roads had to break after the Budapest final. The cursed final was lost to Sevilla because of a hugely controversial refereeing performance by Anthony Taylor.
That night was to end Mourinho’s adventure at Roma with a victory and another trophy lifted to the sky—an incredible, legendary success that Mourinho and his Roma had deserved on the pitch, playing better with heart, pride, and dignity. Something broke that night—not only the hearts of Roma fans but probably Jose’s himself.
The truth is that it is impossible to judge Mourinho’s experience at Roma by talking only about results. No one can call his experience a “failure,” and the reasons for this are many. First of all, Mourinho won the Conference League, Roma’s first European trophy (apart from the Fairs Cup), he then came close to clinching the Europa League trophy.
He also allowed the arrival of champions such as Paulo Dybala and Romelu Lukaku, he created in Rome an atmosphere not seen in a long time of union of absolute enthusiasm between the city, the team and the fans; he made so many fans proud; he defended Roma against everything and everyone.
Roma fans were proud of Mourinho’s Roma and of having the Portuguese on the bench, despite the fact that at times things were difficult and the results were not satisfactory. And that in Rome is more important than anything else.
The fact that they felt represented and defended, that they felt that Mourinho was speaking for their people, made Romanisti fall in love with the Portuguese coach, whose name will forever be linked to that of the Giallorossi team. Even if he had won nothing, the journey would still have been unforgettable and forever cherished by Roma fans.
Only Roma fans understand what Jose meant to the club
Giallorossi fans did not start rooting for Roma because of the successes, because of the trophies, because of the titles, but because no other team has that same sense of community, conveys that sense of family. Feeling part of something, feeling represented, that feeling of being “unique” and being “chosen,” – that is what matters most to a Roma fan.
And Mourinho was all of this and more: he had chosen Roma despite being bigger than the club, he spoke on behalf of the fans and defended them against everything and everyone, he spoke words of love despite having coached in Madrid, Milan, London.
No one will ever be able to understand what Mourinho has been for Roma except Roma fans. No fan of any other team will ever understand the empathy, the sharing of battles and values, perhaps not even Roma fans themselves, who at least had the luck and joy of sharing those emotions with other brothers and sisters.
De Rossi’s return something we needed
To replace Jose, Dan Friedkin chose Daniele De Rossi. The man who embodied Romanism and cheered for Roma like no other in history. It was a risky choice from a technical point of view because, although DDR grew up as a player under some of the best coaches in the history of soccer, his only experience on the bench had been at SPAL, which started badly and ended worse.
Daniele signed a contract almost at the minimum wage; he told the owner, “You choose the salary; I don’t care; I’ll sign anyway.”. An act of love, yet another from De Rossi, who, as a player, said, “My only regret is that I could only donate one career to Roma,” and now here is the chance to give his great love another career, that of coaching.
Some have called the decision to entrust him with the team not very clever but he does not care about that; he has already said he will fight to the death to stay on that bench well beyond the 4 months stipulated in the current agreement. “You can’t refuse Roma,” DDR explained, and after the conference, he went straight onto the field to try to solve the team’s problems.
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