Getty Images

Napoli president accuses Roma and Liverpool of collusion

Leave a comment

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis has never been one to hold back words, but this one’s quite the accusation. He thinks one of his chief Serie A rivals is in cahoots with a top Premier League side.

“I always had a suspicion that the real owner of Roma is the same as Liverpool, and if this were the case, the two clubs should not be allowed to play in the Champions League,” De Laurentiis said to La Gazetta dello Sport.

Both owners are American, with Liverpool owned by John Henry-led Fenway Sports Group and Roma held chiefly by Massachusetts-born James Palotta. It’s not surprising that De Laurentiis would think this, considering the roots of both men in close proximity. What is surprising is that he’d actually say it in public.

De Laurentiis said that “a little bird has told me a few years ago” that Henry and Palotta were secretly working together, and Napoli’s Italian rivals didn’t take kindly to that.

Roma responded vehemently, with the official Twitter account tweeting a quote from Palotta. “What do you think @ADeLaurentiis is smoking over there in Naples? If he finds that little bird again, he’ll find out we also own Barca and Bayern.”

Roma then released a quote from managing director Mauro Baldissoni, who said jokingly, “He [De Laurentiis] said that this was all suggested to him by a little bird. I don’t know who: I can only think that perhaps Aurelio is listening to the wrong birds! Perhaps we could suggest to him that he should speak a bit with songbirds, who deliver nice melodies rather than speaking nonsense. For our part, we send our best wishes to president De Laurentiis and to Carlo Ancelotti, their coach who remains in the hearts of all Roma fans, along with everyone else at Napoli. We wish them good luck for the new campaign, as we do all the other clubs and players.”

Could De Rossi and Bradley befall the same fate as Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett?

Leave a comment

Roma president James Pallotta happens to be from Boston, and is an avid basketball fan.  When asked about the transfer status of his squad, he said anyone and everyone is on the table.

“Daniele De Rossi to stay? We’ll see. All players are on the market, it’s the same for my Celtics” the American said in an interview with RAI Sport.

While I don’t think the Roma president – who happens to be a Celtics co-owner – will be pushing the firesale button on his soccer team like they did in the NBA, the point is clear:

Nobody is untouchable.

That sentiment obviously includes U.S. international Michael Bradley, who has locked down a starting spot in Roma’s midfield since his move from Chievo one year ago.  The 25-year-old has found great success in Italy as a holding midfielder, as his physical playing style and tireless engine have translated perfectly into the Italian game.

For that reason, he could be a perfect target for an aging midfield, such as that of AC Milan – I don’t think there would be many who doubt he could give the current midfielders there a good run for their spot.  However, I don’t think Roma will be looking to sell one of their more prized possessions that easily.

Despite the statement of blanket availability, Pallotta then did backtrack a touch, saying his captain Francesco Totti would be difficult to part with.

“Francesco Totti will always be a part of Roma and we want him to stay. He will certainly play for one or two more years, we’ve got to understand the situation along with him. I don’t know if he wants to play until he’s 40. He may well do, but if he gets to 40 then he’ll ask me if he can continue until he’s 50!”