Jose Mourinho he is the best trainer in the world detecting the environment, deciphering the springs of the place where he works. And when he arrived in Rome last summer he understood two things: the club hadn’t lifted a cup for too long, but the team didn’t have a squad to aspire to great milestones. Both premises made him conclude that the Conference League, a new competition with hardly any prestige, would be the best platform to relaunch the team and to stop the bleeding of trophies from his career. In this way, Roma, dropped from the top of Serie A and exhibiting a somewhat fair game in terms of resources, put together a compact group and managed to place themselves in the first European final since 1991, when Inter won the Copa de UEFA. This Wednesday Mourinho made history again and gave the giallorossi the first edition of the Conference League.
The party in Rome will be long. The night of the victory there were fireworks in the Testaccio neighborhood celebrating until dawn. Antonello Venditti’s anthem will sound for days and, probably, it will be celebrated with the tifosi at the Circo Massimo, like the last time they lifted a shield. Let’s not mention the joke that will circulate with the followers of Lazio, who on Wednesday entrusted himself to half a dozen saints so that Feyenoord avoided the euphoria of the neighbor. And it is justified. Because the team has experienced a desert crossing. The last title was raised in 2008 and it was an Italian Cup. To find a league title you have to go back to 2001. And if you were looking for a trophy with a European flavor in the showcases of Trigoria, you had to travel to the Fairs Cup won in 1961. Wednesday’s victory in Tirana against Feyenoord, with a solitary goal and an extraordinary defensive display, is a shot of optimism and euphoria that the club needed more than ever.
Roma’s triumph is also a joy for Italy, which hadn’t lifted a European cup for 12 years. It was precisely when José Mourinho’s Inter won the Champions League. It was the last moment of glory for transalpine football and for the Portuguese coach. For the coach, it is the fifth European triumph, after two Champions Leagues and two UEFA Cups. The only coach who has won the three major tournaments of European competitions. And yesterday, a few minutes after the referee blew the final whistle and responding to his own impulses, he raised the three fingers of his hand to remember him.
Roma, a team too accustomed to defeat and burning half-built projects, is today a team in the process of growth. Mourinho obtains with the Conference League a valuable credit that will help him to advance in the design of the team that he would like to have. This season he had to make do with some signings -like the British Abraham- and so many layoffs, like Pedro’s. But the base has responded, and players like Zaniolo (who scored the lone winning goal yesterday) or Spinazzola, an extraordinary winger who has spent the entire season in dry dock after being injured in the Euro Cup, will become leaders of the next project.
The club, owned by the American Friedkin family, will now entrust the Portuguese to continue a change of course that should also be certified with the approval of the new stadium that fans have been demanding for years. For now, the club celebrated the title by remembering everyone. Also from the city that bears his name – as Josep Lluís Núñez would say – and from the Feyenoord fans, who in 2015 destroyed Bernini’s Barcaccia fountain in the Piazza di Spagna. The same one that the institution used yesterday for its congratulations on social networks and to claim its absolute link with the capital of Italy.