A select number of men know what it takes to win a Serie A title with the Giallorossi: Eusebio Di Francesco is among that number.
Di Francesco’s crowning moment came in 2001, of course, as a member of the famous Roma side that secured the club’s third Scudetto in such thrilling fashion on that unforgettable June day. On the pitch Di Francesco did not enjoy the best campaign – injury kept him out for large spells, and he only returned shortly before the run-in – and he would in fact leave that summer. But his presence in the dressing room was vital to the success of the group, with many teammates pointing to his steady influence and eye for details as a key component of the eventual success.
In his four years with the Giallorossi Di Francesco made 129 appearances, scoring 16 goals and earning a number of call-ups to the Italian national team. A determined, box-to-box midfielder with an eye for an important goal, the Pescara native’s career would eventually take him elsewhere, to Piacenza and Perugia (after getting his start at Empoli and Lucchese). After he retired, though, Rome would come calling again – as he returned to the Giallorossi for the 2005-06 season as the team’s operations manager.
That experience would inspire him to begin his own coaching career, building on the insights he had gained both from that season with Luciano Spalletti and his playing days working under the likes of Fabio Capello. His coaching career would begin at Virtus Lanciano and, after impressing there and with Pescara, after an aborted spell at Lecce he would really make his name with Sassuolo.
From 2012 onwards Di Francesco would guide the Neroverdi from the obscurity of Serie B to the bright lights of the Europa League, finishing a remarkable sixth in the 2015-16 campaign. Along the way he established his reputation as an astute tactical mind, a general with well-drilled players who could nevertheless produce incisive and attractive attacking football.
In the summer of the 2017, Roma came calling for a third time. Player, operations manager, head coach – the time has come for Di Francesco to use everything he has learned to guide the club to even greater heights.