After five exciting seasons at Sassuolo, Eusebio Di Francesco has been confirmed as the new coach of Roma, following Luciano Spalletti’s departure for Internazionale Milano. Former Italy midfielder Di Francesco once played for the Giallorossi but is he is the right man for last season’s Serie A runners-up as they ready for a UEFA Champions League return?
“Di Francesco is one of the coaches who have made Italian football more attractive with his Sassuolo side.”
Luciano Spalletti, predecessor as Roma coach
“Di Francesco is a young coach with great ideas.”
Arrigo Sacchi, former Italy coach
“He is a very good coach. He knows Roma very well because he played with the Giallorossi for several years. I think he can help the team to improve.”
Zdeněk Zeman, coached Di Francesco at Roma
Who is he?
A versatile, forward-running midfielder who helped Roma win their last Scudetto in 2000/01 under Fabio Capello, Di Francesco won 12 caps for Italy. He soon began a promising coaching career: he was appointed by Virtus Lanciano in 2008, then Pescara and Lecce. He made a name for himself at Sassuolo, guiding the club to promotion from Serie B in 2013 before steering the Neroverdi to an unlikely UEFA Europa League group stage appearance last season.
Why is he Roma’s man?
An innovative coach with an in-depth knowledge of Italian football, Di Francesco knows Roma’s philosophy, but the club chose him for two more reasons, as president James Pallotta explained: “With his style of play, we believe he’s the right fit for Roma. He also will help bring through some of the great young talent coming out of our academy.”
How do his teams play?
Di Francesco said his former boss at Roma, Czech coach Zeman, was one of his coaching role models. Tough, with an attacking mentality, Di Francesco’s Sassuolo never lost their sense of balance and were well organised defensively. “I almost always played 4-3-3,” he said. “I prefer a four-man defence, as I only ever used three at the back when it was absolutely necessary.”
“It’s like coming home after many years. It’s an emotional moment. I have met many familiar faces who were at the club in my playing days, while new people greeted me with great affection too.”
“Zeman? He is a source of inspiration for me. I enjoyed playing with his Roma a lot. He is the only coach who made me laugh.”
Did you know?
Named ‘Eusebio’ after the Portugal star of the 1960s, the 47-year-old Di Francesco has a promising son, 21-year-old Bologna winger Federico.