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One Jacko leads Roma against old rival Manchester United in the Europa League

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Image source: AP

Roma’s Edin Dzeko celebrates after scoring his team’s opening goal during the Europa League quarter-final football match between Roma and Ajax at the Olympic Stadium in Rome, Thursday, 15 April

One Dzeko has been associated with so many different destinations and is involved in so many controversies this season that it was difficult to keep track.

In September, he was so close to joining Juventus that he stopped playing for Roma for a moment. In January, there was a swap deal with Inter Milan for Alexis Sanchez.

Then came a breakup with coach Paulo Fonseca, which led to his removal from the Roma captaincy.

But Jacko has never left the Italian capital and is now returning to his former hometown of England to lead Jalorossi against Manchester United in the first leg of the Europa League semi-finals on Thursday.

“There have been many ups and downs this season. Personally, I had difficult moments due to many things, but I do not like to look back. It happened, “Dzeko said recently. “We have to look ahead. We are in the semifinals, which many people did not expect. We have to enjoy, because you can’t play at Old Trafford every week. “

However, Jacko knows what it means to visit United as an opponent. He did it five seasons with Manchester City before joining Roma in 2015 – and scored six goals in the Manchester derby.

“Since I left Manchester City six years ago, I have never returned,” Dzeko told UEFA.com. “This will be a special game for me, because until a few years ago it was a derby for me.”

Two other Roma players, defender Chris Smalling and midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, previously played for United.

Smalling joined Roma on loan in 2019 after nine years at Manchester United. He made the move last year after a strong first season at Roma, but is battling injuries in that campaign.

Smalling and his family were also recently robbed at their home in Rome, after which he said they were “very shaken”.

While Smalling missed the quarter-finals against Ajax, he is expected to take on the defense of the eliminated Gianluca Mancini in the first match in Manchester.

Smalling and the other Roma defenders will have the task of controlling United strikers Edinson Cavani and Marcus Rashford.

As for Mkhitaryan, who, like Smalling, plays for United, who won the Europa League in 2017, he is also back in shape after an injury.

For Roma fans, the game offers a chance for revenge after United’s 7-1 draw at Old Trafford in the 2006-07 Champions League – a game in which current United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer plays.

Given the game, Giallorossi supporters took advantage of recent comments from Solskjaer, who reportedly said he “didn’t know Roma well” and hadn’t seen them play.

Roma fans responded by pasting posters of Solskjaer around their city, accompanied by a message: “Make him remember us!”

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