Vincenzo Montella admitted that to one day coach Roma would be a dream come true - and that day has arrived sooner than he or anyone else could have imagined.
Roma today decided to give the reins to the 36-year-old Montella until the end of the season following the resignation of Claudio Ranieri, making him the youngest coach in Serie A.
Having only retired from playing in July 2009, Montella had been working as the youth team coach at Roma.
Ranieri, after his struggling team squandered a 3-0 lead at Genoa to lose 4-3 on Sunday, decided a coaching change was needed to spark the club's season into life.
Former Roma boss Carlo Mazzone believes Montella, who does not possess any coaching badges, can overcome a lack of experience and help the Giallorossi return to winning ways.
They are currently on a three-game losing streak in Italy's top flight.
"I don't believe that the lack of experience is a defect - in fact, it can become an asset," Mazzone said.
"Roma has lost enthusiasm and confidence in its own means, but I hope that what is happening is just a one-off."
Montella, who will be assisted by Aurelio Andreazzoli, will be unveiled tomorrow and then make his coaching debut on Wednesday at Bologna.
Roma host Parma this weekend before Montella switches his attention to the Champions League with a trip to Ukraine to face Shakhtar Donetsk on March 8. They lost the first 3-2 leg at home last week.
Montella is best known for his days as a striker at Roma from 1999 to 2007 and was part of the scudetto-winning side of 2001 that was coached by Fabio Capello.
Defensive problems have been the cause of Roma's recent fall. They have conceded 14 goals in their last four games, including a 5-3 defeat to Inter Milan.
Roma, meanwhile, have made it clear they feel Ranieri did a very good job during his time in charge.
A Roman, Ranieri replaced Luciano Spalletti at the helm last season with the team having endured a terrible start and led them on a magnificent run that saw the Giallarossi challenge Inter for the Italian title and the Coppa Italia.
Roma finished runners-up on each front.
Ranieri had expressed his disappointment that the club failed to sign any players in this winter's transfer market.
Roma were reluctant to spend money with the club up for sale.
After the defeat to Genoa, Roma are eighth in the standings, nine points behind fourth-placed Lazio.