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Julian D On February - 20 - 2011

A Tale of Two Years: Claudio Ranieri Leaves Roma

Claudio Ranieri has left Roma the same way he entered: the club in turmoil, in a position in the league far below where the squads ability dictates.

Much has changed between then and now - he joined the club mere weeks into the 2009/10 season, and leaves it more than half way through the 2010/11 season - but the Tinkerman left several things with the club. His reputation for Tinkering was simultaneously upheld and questioned, his record in the derby was immaculate, and his upbringing of Julio Sergio and Jeremy Menez will never be forgotten by the Roma faithful.

Ranieri took over after Luciano Spalletti and will likely be remembered for everything the Zenit boss wasn’t. The bald one played an incredibly fast paced game, built upon a strikerless formation where the entire midfield moved as one and thrusted the offense forward. Claudio, on the other hand, built his time at Roma around defense.

Once the team finally gelled under his stewardship, the capital club were noted much more for defensive solidarity, built around the mighty Juan and reinvented Nicolas Burdisso, than free flowing attack. Neither man brought Roma success in the league bar second place finishes but both had approaches that worked, albeit the former’s was much more pleasing on the eye. Claudio nevertheless inherited a sinking ship and plugged the holes.

His substitutions, however, had one thing in common - madness. Even the halftime taking off of Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi in the Derby della Capitale last season was seen as a crazy move, despite the fact that it directly influenced the game and allowed Roma to win. Madness thus was potentially useful, but also often worked against Roma.

In today’s game against Genoa, for example, it seemed rather odd to take off Fabio Simplicio, a strong midfielder, and throw on lightweight Menez, just as Genoa were beginning to gain momentum. The Frenchman and Mirko Vucinic perhaps suffered the most under Claudio’s stewardship, often finding themselves relegated to the bench despite heroics performed the week before.

A Love Hate Relationship

Despite his odd substitutions and other harmful quirks (leaving on four forwards for an entire half against Brescia, not putting on all four when a goal was needed at various times late in games), Claudio is able to leave I Lupi with his head held high. Under him, Menez went from promising midfielder who dribbled too much to one of the most explosive and decisive wingers in the league. Under him, Roma won four successive derbies against Lazio in Serie A, and an additional one in the Super Coppa. Under him, Roma completed one of the most famous European comebacks of all time, storming from 2-0 down against Bayern Munich, to 3-2 up at the final whistle.

Yet with the former Chelsea man at the helm, Roma have lost four successive games. The defensive solidarity from last season has vanished and nothing has worked to repair it. Admittedly, these faults are not his alone. The Sensi family did not have much to offer Ranieri, and it remains to be seen what Thomas Di Benedetto could do financially to strengthen the team. Given the old age of core players, the lack of quality fullbacks, and decline in form that can in no way be attributed to Claudio (John Arne Riise comes to mind), it seems that he did as well as he could’ve in the situation.

However, the situation has changed. Roma are onto brighter pastures now that the Bostonian has entered the frame and will soon tie up a deal to buy the club. Ranieri has been a lame duck since this started, given the myriad of names thrown around since the takeover occurred (Guardiola! Baldini! Ancelotti!). The future of Roma had to go on without a 59 year old man who has yet to win a major honor with a top side. Roma finally dare to dream, and to do so, dead weight must be cut out - let Ranieri’s demise serve as a warning to underperforming players, as well.

Over time, Ranieri will be seen as a good man in a bad place at the wrong time. His potential successor is most likely to be ex-Roma striker Vincenzo Montella, a fan favorite. Likely to be an interim coach until the summer, when Di Benedetto will attempt to lure Carlo Ancelotti from Chelsea, the bomber is a figure that the players are likely to rally around and begin fighting for once again. Claudio lost his place as that figure and thus his place as the coach of the club.

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2 Responses so far.

  1. bosco08 says:

    Great article. That video is painfully depressing, our defending was simply non-existent.

    I have always said I’ve liked Ranieri. I’ve not agreed with all of his decisions, particularly his often ill-timed substitutions, and his team selections, but on the whole he did a very good job with us.

  2. Claudio’s taken Roma through turbulent periods and it’s a pity he won’t be getting the chance to work under Di Benedetto when the times should become better.

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