Primavera 1 TIM


The longstanding Giallorossi boss guided his young charges to the league title on Saturday after a shootout victory over Juventus in the final.

De Rossi previously won the national U19 championship with Roma in 2004-05 and 2010-11.

“These two games will live long in the memory,” the coach said in the wake of Saturday's triumph at Mapei Stadium, which came following another shootout success over Inter in the semi-final.

“I'll certainly remember them as two very special games. I really wanted to win this Scudetto even though the last one, in 2011, was more intense.”

Roma eventually edged a final that had swung both ways and De Rossi was quick to praise his players' maturity in the face of adversity.

“Every game is tight once you get to the finals. Like all the other teams at this stage, Juventus are really tough to beat.

“The lads' held their nerve, as they did against Inter when all sorts of things happened. They stayed calm while still managing to play aggressively.

“They made a few mistakes but managed to pick themselves up again. Let's give credit where it's due because they played with character and cool heads. They're only 18 but they've given us tremendous joy.”

After extra time ended 1-1, Lorenzo Crisanto saved one of Juventus' spot kicks and Riccardo Marchizza had the chance to clinch the shootout with Roma's fifth, but the centre-back uncharacteristically missed from 12 yards.

“I don't know when he last missed a penalty!” De Rossi continued. “But we've finally ended his penalty hoodoo whereby Roma never win shootouts.

“Although some people disagree, we practise penalties at least two or three times every week. Obviously taking one on the training ground can never be as emotionally charged as stepping up to the spot in a final, but we believe technique is something that should be practised.”

After the contest went to sudden death, Crisanto saved another penalty and Lorenzo Grossi scored the winning spot kick to secure an eighth Primavera Scudetto for Roma.

Is this latest title the best one?

“Honestly I really wanted this one because our academy deserves to win trophies every now and then. We know Roma have the best youth academy in Italy but even though our main objective is to bring young players through you still need to win things sometimes.”

Mauro Baldissoni has spoken highly of your work.

“It's very nice to hear. I tend to put my own objectives to one side because I'm here to help the club produce youngsters but it's both a pleasure for me and my duty. It gives you a special sense of belonging to this club.”

Would you like to dedicate the win to anyone in particular?

“I could name lots of people but if I have to pick one I'd say [Abdullahi] Nura. He's been terribly unlucky. I spoke to him yesterday and the day before as well. It's nothing serious but it's such a shame when so much bad luck lands on one boy's plate. He came in, worked hard and looked as if he was about to really take off but from November onwards it was just one thing after another for him. So we'll dedicate this trophy to him.”