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Report: PSG owners exploring possibility of buying Roma

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Qatari Sports Investments, the group which owns Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain, is exploring the possibility of purchasing Serie A club Roma, according to reports out of both Italy and France.

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Italian publication Corriere dello Sport was first with the news, followed by a confirmation of QSI’s interest by French newspaper L’Equipe.

The former reports that a $450-million bid has already been made, but the latter could not confirm this detail. Current Roma owner, American businessman James Pallotta, has denied that he has received any bid.

UEFA rules, if fully enforced, prevent the same person or persons from being the majority owners of two clubs on the continent. City Football Group, which owns Premier League giants Manchester City, also owns a 44.3 percent stake in La Liga side Girona. With an equal 44.3 percent stake also being held by Girona Football Group, CFG isn’t technically a majority owner.

QSI would likely be forced to create a new business group so as to skirt UEFA’s rules, while presumably bankrolling and operating the club through a very thin layer of separation and deniability.

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If the world at-large could see through such a setup, then surely UEFA would be able to do so as well, and they simply would not stand for a scenario which could quite easily call into question the integrity of the world’s most prestigious club competition… right?

Just imagine this: PSG, a club still desperate to win the Champions League (or reach the final, even), is drawn against Roma in the semifinals of the 2021-22 competition. The same people, under different company names, own and operate both clubs. PSG is the global brand of the stable, therefore it takes precedence.

“Let them win, they come first,” QSI Chairman Nasser Ghanim Al-Khelaifi says to the Roma manager, Jose Mourinho. What does he do? Deliberately defy his boss, the man who will undoubtedly come down from the stands and fire him at halftime?

On second thought, this sounds entertaining.

Serie A: Roma’s misery deepens in 4-1 defeat to Napoli

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A roundup of all of Sunday’s action in Italy’s top flight…

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Roma 1-4 Napoli

Napoli won’t be making any challenge to Juventus’ claim as the kings of Serie A this season, but they have unquestionably asserted themselves as Italy’s no. 2 club — exemplified in both their 10-point lead over everyone else, as well as Sunday’s 4-1 dismantling of previously second-best Roma.

It’s been a season to forget for Roma, who up until recently languished barely in the top half of the table. Now seventh, they’re closer in points to 14th place (15 points ahead) than they are to second-place Napoli (16 points back).

Sunday showed exactly why Claudio Ranieri‘s side sits where it does.

It was 1-0 to Napoli with fewer than two full minutes on the clock, courtesy of Arkadiusz Milik. Roma held their own the rest of the first half and pulled back to level terms in first-half stoppage time.

The floodgates, however, opened up in the second half, as Dries Merten (50th minute), Simone Verdi (54th) and Amin Younes (81st) blew the game wide open piled on the misery.

Napoli trail Juve by 15 points, while Roma

Elsewhere in Serie A

Inter Milan 0-1 Lazio
Parma 1-3 Atalanta
Fiorentina 1-1 Torino
Bologna 2-1 Sassuolo
Frosinone 0-1 SPAL

Claudio Ranieri calls Roma ‘not a team’ after loss to SPAL

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Roma suffered a 2-1 road loss to SPAL, and new manager Claudio Ranieri reacted strongly to the possibility that the club will miss out on Champions League qualification next season.

The Italian stated after the game that Roma “played against a team and we were not a team. Effort without organization is not enough.”

Ranieri did not stop there. He eviscerated his player, saying their desire did not match what the game required, and that the players were unable to keep up with SPAL’s effort level, with the home side fighting relegation.

“We lost practically every duel, especially the ones played to feet, and you could see their desperation,” Ranieri said. “SPAL then tried to stall and waste time in the second half, which I fully understand in their circumstances. There are some players who don’t have these characteristics, others are lacking confidence at the moment, but between the two sides, SPAL were certainly more determined.”

Roma out-shot the home side 16-10, but each team finished with four on target. Diego Perotti scored for the visitors in the 55th minute to level things out, but just four minutes later SPAL restored its lead as Juan Jesus committed a foul in the area and Andrea Petagna buried the effort.

After the poor effort, Ranieri said his players could face the axe if they don’t improve. “We need to be more determined, more of a team and also improve our tactics, because we ran hard, but with no real reasoning and that’s not good enough. If Roma go into the Champions League, that is one thing. If they don’t, then quite a few will get a change of scenery. I’ve told the lads since the first day, they have to prove themselves.”

Roma sits three points back of a Champions League place in fifth, but with the loss all four teams above them now have a game in hand as well.

Report: Ranieri wants to bring Drinkwater to AS Roma

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Aaron Ramsey and Danny Drinkwater have squared off plenty of times, but will their next meeting come in Italy?

Reports say that AS Roma caretaker boss Claudio Ranieri is advising his club to chase former Leicester City center mid Danny Drinkwater, now at Chelsea.

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Ramsey, of course, signed a big money deal with Juventus and will join the Turin side when his contract with Arsenal ends after the season.

The 29-year-old Drinkwater has played just 30 minutes under Maurizio Sarri, and that came back in August’s Community Shield loss to Manchester City.

Drinkwater cost Chelsea around $44 million from Leicester City in 2017, but has yet to replicate — or have the chance to replicate — the magic he displayed during the Foxes’ title run.

He has one goal in 23 appearances for the Blues, who are under an incoming transfer ban the next two windows.

Ranieri victorious in his first game back in charge of Roma

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ROME (AP) Claudio Ranieri won his first game back in charge at Roma but it was far from comfortable.

Stephan El Shaarawy and Patrik Schick scored in the first half, and relegation-threatened Empoli’s late equalizer was disallowed on video review as Roma held on to win 2-1 on Monday.

Captain Alessandro Florenzi was sent off 10 minutes from time – on his 28th birthday – following a second booking, and Empoli’s Rade Krunic almost made the advantage count before the video assistant referee determined the ball hit Dimitri Oberlin in the arm just before the goal.

“The first match is over, and the best thing is the result,” Ranieri said. “We have to work a lot, but we will always score sooner or later. We have to work instead on staying focused in order not to concede. It’s not possible that we’re letting in all these goals.

“These 90 minutes hasn’t made me feel calmer, but I’m focused and positive.”

Roma moved three points behind fourth-place Inter Milan, with the top four from Serie A qualifying for the Champions League. Empoli remained a point above the relegation zone.

Ranieri was appointed as interim coach on Friday, a day after Roma fired Eusebio Di Francesco following elimination from the Champions League and a derby defeat to Lazio. In charge of Roma from 2009-11, Ranieri was fired by Fulham of the Premier League on Feb. 28.

His second spell got off to a good start. El Shaarawy fired Roma in front in the ninth minute when he curled a stunning effort into the top right corner, but Empoli leveled in somewhat comical fashion three minutes later as Juan Jesus headed the ball into his own net under very little pressure.

Empoli almost immediately scored a second, but Manuel Pasqual’s free kick bounced off the top left corner of the goal.

Roma took the lead again in the 33rd minute as Florenzi floated in a free kick from outside the right side of the penalty area and Schick headed it into the bottom left corner.

Empoli dominated as Roma’s task was made harder by the list of players missing: Daniele De Rossi, Kostas Manolas, Lorenzo Pellegrini and Cengiz Under were all injured, and Edin Dzeko, Federico Fazio and Aleksandar Kolarov were suspended.

“It was a difficult match without many men seeing that the leaders were out – those who play 90 minutes, players who give a sense of direction to the play and the team,” Ranieri said.

“I knew it would be difficult and I have to congratulate the team, which always remained compact even when we went down to 10 men.”