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Jul 10, 2013

Roma return under a cloud

Roma's players were greeted by angry fans as they turned up for the first day of pre-season training in Trigoria on Tuesday as a leaked conversation between the club's directors brought further unrest.

• Blog: Cancelled deal would have been ideal

Only Francesco Totti, new signing Medhi Benatia and coach Rudi Garcia avoided the supporters' fury as they received warm applause, but the rest of the players and staff were left in no doubt as to the fans' feelings about last season's failure to qualify for Europe and, above all, the defeat to arch-rivals Lazio in the Coppa Italia final.

Pablo Daniel Osvaldo was missing from the session as he was still on holiday, sparking a scandal in the process. It was not Roma's intention for Osvaldo to avoid the insults - it emerged the club had wanted him to be there more than any other player.

ASRomaradio.it had broadcast club director Claudio Fenucci and director of sport Walter Sabatini discussing Osvaldo, Daniele De Rossi and Marquinhos in private. The conversation is understood to have been recorded after Sabatini forgot to hang up his mobile phone, following an interview with the online radio channel.

For over two minutes, Fenucci and Sabatini were heard discussing Roma's transfer plans, revolving around Osvaldo, whom they wanted back in the country in time for Tuesday's training session. They hoped that he too would receive the fans' wrath, and that it would be enough to convince the player to accept an offer from Premier League club Southampton and leave this summer. They also openly discussed the sale of De Rossi and Marquinhos, for whom they expect to receive €25 million.

Roma released a statement on Tuesday evening, saying they had "made the authorities aware" of the incident, while reminding that recording conversations "is a crime" and that further action will be taken against "any further use of the recordings". However, they did not deny that the conversation took place.

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