AS Roma on Saturday qualified for the UEFA Champions League for the first time since the 2010/2011 season thanks to a 1-0 win at Fiorentina. After the game, Coach Rudi Garcia dedicated qualification to Dutch midfielder Kevin Strootman, who is recovering from an ACL tear and will miss the rest of the season as well as this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
“Now there are four games to go, we are sure of a place in the Champions League. We will prepare for the game with Milan at a packed Stadio Olimpico and are still hungry for success,” the former Lille coach said, adding: “I particularly want to dedicate this qualification to Kevin Strootman, as I am truly happy he’ll be able to play in the Champions League with us next season.”
Second-place Roma is eight points behind Serie A leader Juventus, which labored to beat Bologna 1-0 at home on Saturday. Garcia added that he still believes that anything is possible: “It has been an extraordinary season, but we can still make it an exceptional one,” he said. “Anything that comes now is a bonus. We will enjoy this victory tonight, we have 82 points and both the team and Coach want more. That’s all that counts tonight.”
When asked about growing rumors in the press linking him to Paris Saint-Germain, the Frenchman was coy: “My future? I’ve already said that I am happy at Roma and this is not the time to talk about individual cases, including my own, as we haven’t ended the season yet.”