Coach Luciano Spalletti leaves Roma, likely for Inter Milan
ABS-CBN Sports on May 31, 2017 10:49 AM
FILE - In this Oct. 2, 2016 file photo Roma coach Luciano Spalletti gives indications to his players during a Serie A soccer match between Roma and Inter Milan, at Rome's Olympic Stadium. Roma announced the departure of Luciano Spalletti on Tuesday, May 30, 2017 in an expected move that frees the coach to sign with Inter Milan. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini, files)
ROME (AP) — Roma announced the departure of Luciano Spalletti on Tuesday in an expected move that frees the coach to sign with Inter Milan.
"The process to appoint a new coach is now underway," Roma said in a statement.
The announcement came two days after Spalletti guided Roma to a second-place finish in Serie A and direct entry into the Champions League.
"I'm leaving a Roma that can look to the future, with some outstanding players," Spalletti said. "We could perhaps have done better and we didn't always have everyone pulling in the same direction. But this is a great environment which I'm sorry to be leaving."
The 58-year-old Spalletti has been in negotiations to follow former Roma sporting director Walter Sabatini to Inter.
Sassuolo coach Eusebio Di Francesco, a former Roma player, is reportedly the top choice to replace Spalletti.
Spalletti's second stint as Roma coach began in January 2016.
While Roma won two Italian Cups and one Italian Super Cup during Spalletti's first stay at Roma from 2005-09, no trophies were won during his second term.
Still, Roma president Jim Pallotta thanked Spalletti and noted that "under his stewardship this season, the team has won more Serie A points and scored more goals than any side in Roma's history."
"We wish Luciano all the best for the future," Pallotta added.
Spalletti lost the support of many Roma fans this season over his sparing use of club captain Francesco Totti, who announced his retirement on Sunday.
Spalletti was showered with boos and whistles during Totti's last match.
"I didn't deserve the whistles," Spalletti said. "I always had Roma in mind and I'm someone who means well. I'm a friend of Totti's. We've always respected each other."