Roma’s President James Pallotta Speaks about Roma Tenure

AS Roma president James Pallotta, who is in Rome after presenting the new stadium plans, spoke today about his time as Roma president thus far.

George Soros (a billionaire) considered buying Roma first?
“He was interested about 7 years ago and I know this because a friend of mine worked with him. The negotiations came to a halt on the day before the signing, really. People who were with him when he was about sign told me that some lawyers who worked on the deal tried to change things at the last moment, so Soros’ group blasted the deal and it fell apart.”

The contract for Garcia, the signature is close?
“We’ve talked about it but Rudi doesn’t rush things. We are ready to sit down with him at any time. Rudi is very good here and also, thanks to the new stadium, I don’t see why he wouldn’t stay here long. We want him to stay in Rome for a very long time. During the season, many have spoken of this contract while he’s only thinking about coaching, winning, and getting us into the Champions League. He’s not thinking much about a new contract.”

When Totti retires you’ll have to raise up his shirt like you do in the U.S (laughs)…
“Obviously, there is no doubt! When it happens it won’t be something that will last an hour, it will last a month!

In Italy it is a bit strange: you sign a contract and then immediately asks to have it renewed. Does this happen in the U.S?
“No, absolutely not. Obviously for me it was a surprise, as well as other aspects related to contracts. I have spoken with many owners in Europe who are very frustrated by the relationships with certain agents and for how they manage their players. Sooner or later something will have to change.”

In Italy there is much talk of referees, is this true in the United States? Although, you had problems in the NBA Finals…
“It’s true, I once got a fine.”

Do you think you give too much attention is given to referees?
“I think it’s a very difficult job. It is a very fast game, dynamic. A referee must be able to follow every step of the game and then sometimes there are some amazing actors on the field, they’re talented (laughs).”

Your dream final in the Champions League?
“Maybe against Juventus. If that happens it would be really cool.”

What do you think of sports culture in Italy? Many differences to the U.S?
“Surely racism must be eliminated, erased.”

How can we work on this?
“You have to identify the real culprits.”

How important are the flagbearers for Roma?
“It would be great to be able to replicate players like Totti, De Rossi, and Florenzi. In Boston, we had Larry Bird, for a long time we had Paul Pierce, who spent almost his entire career with the Celtics and it was very difficult deciding to trade him, but it was good for the team, Paul had understood. I’d like to have players who can stay at Roma for 10-15 years.”

Source(s): Sky Italy

The Editor of, John has been covering Italian football as a freelance journalist for over 10 years and has appeared in various publications including,, and ESPN.