Roma president James Pallotta has defended his record after a potentially significant investment in the club failed to materialise.
The American entrepreneur, who is a member of the executive board of the NBA’s Boston Celtics, took charge of Roma last August, succeeding countryman Thomas DiBenedetto.
A mystery Middle Eastern investor was reportedly close to sealing a 100 million-euro investment in the Serie A club last month, only for the deal to fall through.
Pallota has since been accused of being duped by ‘fake sheikh’ Adnan Adel Aref Al Qaddumi Al Shtewi.
“Two of our consultants recommended him, so we went ahead (with the planned investment deal),” Pallotta told Gazzetta dello Sport.
“But when we presented the contract, the money never arrived. We did all the relevant research; we are certainly not stupid. So, we lost only time, not money.
“But in just a few months I have stuck to everything that I have said. We have agreements with giants such as Disney, Volkswagen and now Nike. Few clubs in the world have done better than us in terms of sponsors.
“Ours is a 20-year investment, because such projects take time. As they say, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day.’ But don’t worry: with the Celtics, I won after just five seasons.”
Indeed, Pallotta claimed to have the utmost confidence in those responsible for running the sporting side of his Roma operation.
“I am satisfied with the results of (sporting director Walter) Sabatini and (director general Franco) Baldini,” he said.
“We are capable of beating anyone, and we have shown that. We just lack consistency.”
Pallotta also hopes veteran club captain Francesco Totti will still be plying his trade at the Stadio Olimpico when Roma start winning titles again.
“Personally, I cannot even imagine going to see Roma and not finding Totti on the field,” he said.