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'What do you think he's smoking?!' - Roma owner Pallotta fires back at De Laurentiis over Liverpool ownership claim

15:43 BST 17/08/2018
James Pallotta Roma
The two Serie A chiefs have locked horns following Alisson Becker's transfer to Liverpool, with Pallotta landing the latest blow

Roma owner James Pallotta has hit back at Napoli counterpart Aurelio De Laurentiis following suggestions there is an unusual working relationship between the Serie A side and Liverpool.

The accusations came from De Laurentiis after revealing that his side had made an offer for Roma goalkeeper Alisson, who would eventually leave the Italian capital in a £67 million ($87m) world-record switch to Anfield in July.

De Laurentiis subsequently questioned whether the two clubs had shared the same owner, as both are currently controlled by Americans; Pallotta overseeing Roma and John W Henry's Fenway Sports Group controlling the Premier League side.

The Napoli chief went as far to invite UEFA to investigate their collaboration, saying: "I've always suspected that the real owner of Liverpool is also that of Rome. A little bird whispered it in my ear a few years ago.

"And if that is true, with a shared ownership they could not both compete in the Champions League."

Roma boss Pallotta moved quickly to shut down De Laurentiis' comment's however, with the official Roma Twitter account quoting the American billionaire asking what the Napoli chairman was smoking.

"What do you think De Laurentiis is smoking over there in Naples? If he finds that little bird again, he’ll find out we also own Barca and Bayern."

Napoli travel to Rome on the opening round of the season to play Lazio, while Roma take a trip to Torino to open their campaign.

The two will eventually come together on October 28 at Stadio San Paolo as they plot their Scudetto challenges against current champions Juventus.