Eusebio Di Francesco

Eusebio Di Francesco: Roma’s New Italian Coach With A Spanish Touch

Italian managers are renowned for their extremely pragmatic, cautious and tactical approach to the game. But Eusebio Di Francesco happens to be one of few who has bucked that trend, showcasing a unique attractive brand, only envisaged hundreds of miles away in Spain. Exactly why Roma came knocking on his doors after Luciano Spalletti’s departure.

When Roma announced in April that highly successful Spanish-born Director of Football, Monchi, will be joining them, we all knew a radical change was imminent. Monchi had masterminded probably the most extraordinary transformation in club football history at Sevilla. His astute knowledge of the game eased Los Blanquirrojos progress from the Spanish second-tier to a force on the continent, winning the Europa League a record five times, including thrice in the last four seasons.

Clinching over a decade trophies in about 16 years is unquestionably a massive feat for any club. But that wasn't all Monchi brought with him to Andalusia. He helped develop the club's youth system while implementing a vast scouting policy inside and outside Spain. The first gave birth to the likes of Sergio Ramos, Alberto Moreno and José Antonio Reyes with Adriano, Dani Alves, Seydou Keita and Ivan Rakitić all notable products of the latter.

On arriving in Rome, Monchi forthwith set sights on the indigenous manager, who not only befits his amiable Spanish philosophy but understands that of the Giallorossi as well. And it didn't come to many as a surprise that he settled for one of the club's loyal sons, Eusebio Di Francesco. Named after Portuguese legend, Eusebio, Di Francesco made his mark playing for Roma between 1997 and 2001, leading them to the Scudetto in his final season.

"When we sat down to discuss the ideal candidate for the role of Roma coach, we wanted someone who could come in and get the very best out of our first team players and also help bring through some of the great young talent coming out of our academy," Roma owner, James Pallotta said in a statement "Our new sporting director Monchi singled out Eusebio Di Francesco and, with his style of play, we believe he's the right fit for Roma.”

Indeed, Di Francesco appears to be the perfect fit for Monchi's proposed Roman dynasty. Similar to the Spaniard, the 47-year-old guided Sassuolo, a team languishing in the fringes of Serie B, into qualifying for continental football in barely three seasons. As if that wasn’t enough, he further oversaw the successful passage of some of the club's brightest prospects into the first team. Mateo Politano, Simone Zaza and Domenico Berardi amongst many others came through under his tutelage.

But what has got the whole world singing his praises is his entertaining brand of football similar to what is obtainable in Spain. Throughout his time at Sassuolo, he exhibited an unbelievable appetite for attack and never attempted to take his foot off the pedal irrespective of the pedigree of his opponents. It is a philosophy uncommon among his countrymen, such that his predecessor Spalletti acknowledged: "Di Francesco is one of the coaches who has made Italian football more attractive."

At a time a three-man defence has become the in a thing, Di Francesco is still clinging to the basics, by playing with four. "I prefer a four-man defence, as I only ever used three at the back when it was absolutely necessary," he said. And when it comes to enthusiasm and charisma, the 47-year-old will certainly get the Stadio Olympico in a rapturous mood once again. His epic goal celebrations, touchline antics and energy in the dugout will present extra incentives to the fans.

With Di Francesco in charge, the future looks sparkling for Roma.

About the Author Toby Prince

An unrepentant soccer freak other freaks call geek.

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