Luciano Spalletti Officially Named Roma Manager After Sacking of Rudi Garcia

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2016

Zenit coach Luciano Spalletti looks on his team prior to the Champions League group G soccer match between Zenit and Atletico Madrid at Petrovsky stadium in St.Petersburg, Russia, on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Dmitry Lovetsky)
Dmitry Lovetsky/Associated Press

Roma officially announced the return of Luciano Spalletti as manager on Thursday after parting company with previous boss Rudi Garcia just 24 hours earlier.

The club confirmed Spalletti's appointment on Twitter:

Garcia's departure ended a two-and-a-half-year stint with the Serie A giants.

News of the decision to sack the 51-year-old came via Roma's website, with club president Jim Pallotta thanking him for his efforts:

On behalf of myself and everyone at AS Roma, I’d like to thank Rudi Garcia for all of his hard work since joining the club. We’ve all enjoyed some great moments during his time at Roma but we believe that this is the right time for a change.

The Giallorossi find themselves in fifth place in Serie A, seven points back on league leaders Napoli. Saturday's 1-1 draw against AC Milan was the Frenchman’s final game in charge of the capital club.

While Garcia’s side thrilled at times during the 2015-16 season, with the likes of Gervinho, Mohamed Salah, Miralem Pjanic and Edin Dzeko making this team a huge attacking threat, defensive flaws have cost them dearly as they sought to make progress.

MILAN, ITALY - OCTOBER 31:  AS Roma manager Rudi Garcia looks on before the Serie A match between FC Internazionale Milano and AS Roma at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on October 31, 2015 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images)
Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

Presenter Mina Rzouki noted earlier on in the campaign, as Roma were humbled 6-1 by a brilliant Barcelona side in the Champions League, there has been a sense these players weren't fulfilling their potential:

Indeed, there was a lot of initial promise when Garcia took on the job. Despite some scepticism about the appointment of the former Lille boss in 2013, the players clearly took his instructions on board, and Roma became the first team in the history of top-flight Italian football to win every one of their opening 10 games.

Sadly for Garcia, they were unable to convert that strong start into anything tangible, with Juventus eventually recovering and taking the league title.

It was a similar story the following term, with the team showing encouraging early signs before eventually tailing off; Roma finished in second place in both of Garcia’s two full seasons in charge.

In the Champions League, there were some struggles too. They were beaten 6-1 by Barcelona in November, while in October 2014, Garcia’s men had their European campaign derailed by Bayern Munich's 7-1 triumph at the Stadio Olimpico.

Though they qualified from their group in this season's Champions League—they face Real Madrid in the last 16—they did so with the joint-lowest points tally of six, per UEFA's Paul Saffer.

Roma never recovered after losing 7-1 to Bayern in 2014-15.
Roma never recovered after losing 7-1 to Bayern in 2014-15.Giuseppe Bellini/Getty Images

The club’s board clearly feel as though this is a team that needed a new leader, and Garcia will be disappointed to have gotten the chop at such a crucial stage in the campaign.

Spalletti, who led Roma to two Coppa Italia and a Supercoppa Italia win during his first stint with the club between 2005 and 2009, has his work cut out.

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