‘He had given us the all-clear… but then there were problems’: Roma icon Francesco Totti reveals Antonio Conte came incredibly close to taking over as manager before last-minute collapse
Roma legend Francesco Totti has revealed a deal was agreed for Antonio Conte to become their new manager before his move collapsed at the final hurdle.
Totti, who resigned from his role as technical director at the club on Monday, had identified the former Chelsea boss as the No 1 candidate to take over the job on a permanent basis.
Claudio Ranieri had seen out the remainder of last season as caretaker boss following Eusebio di Francesco’s sacking back in March, but left in the summer after failing to deliver Champions League football.
Francesco Totti has revealed Antonio Conte almost took the Roma job before a late collapse
Paulo Fonseca was appointed as their new boss earlier this month, but Totti has revealed that Conte, who is now manager of Inter Milan, came incredibly close to taking the job before a last-minute change of heart.
‘The only Coach I ever called and spoke to was Antonio Conte. It is not true that I called or sent a message to [Gian Piero] Gasperini, [Gennaro] Gattuso, [Sinisa] Mihajlovic. It’s all fantasy,’ Totti said.
‘Guido Fienga and I called Conte, before Pallotta knew about it. I said the only one who can transform Roma right now is Antonio Conte. He had given us the all-clear, as we saw and talked to him many times, but then there were problems and he changed his mind.
Conte changed his mind at the last minute and is now the manager of their rivals Inter Milan
‘When we did talk to [James] Pallotta, he was happy about the idea.’
Totti also explained his decision to end a 30-year association with Roma during a 85-minute press conference on Monday.
The 42-year-old said it was a day he ‘hoped never would have come’ but in the end he made the decision having become marginalised behind the scenes by president Pallotta.
He added: ‘I sent an email to say something that felt unimaginable. I wrote my resignation. I was hoping this was not necessary, but the fateful day has arrived, which for me is very ugly and painful.
Totti left his role at Roma on Monday after becoming marginalised by president James Pallotta
‘Considering the conditions, it was only right that I made this brusque decision, especially as I never had the chance to work on the technical area with Roma.
‘I thought long and hard. Let’s just say it was not my fault that I had to make this decision.
‘They knew my intentions and what I wanted, to give so much to this club and team, but they never wanted me to, in all honesty. They excluded me from every decision.’