The 34-year-old, a free agent after being released by Las Palmas following their relegation last season, still holds I Giallorossi in his heart despite leaving in 2009 and believes his boyhood team can provide the sternest challenge to perennial Serie A winners Juventus this season.
“Juventus are up there, clearly, but I think it’s between Roma and Napoli to be their biggest challengers. I’d actually put Roma a step above Napoli,” Aquilani told La Gazzetta Dello Sport, as reported by Football Italia.
“Eusebio Di Francesco doesn’t let up and I am curious to see how Javier Pastore does. He is a great talent, but can struggle in a midfield role.
“Napoli need time, as they were a well-oiled machine under Maurizio Sarri and Carlo Ancelotti has just started.
“I wouldn’t underestimate Inter, who picked up some very important signings. With Luciano Spalletti’s exuberance, they can make the step up in quality.”
Despite being in the twilight of his career, Aquilani still dreams of a phone call to return to Roma.
“If Roma were to call, I’d run back. It’d be like asking if I wanted to play in the World Cup,” he continued.
“I should’ve returned four years ago. I am happy with what I did in a Roma jersey and going back there would be a dream, but I am the first to admit it’s not possible.
“I would love to be the coach of Roma one day, though.”
Along with Pastore, sporting director Monchi brought in 12 other players on a permanent basis, including highly-touted Ajax winger Justin Kluivert, Dinamo Zagreb attacking midfielder Ante Coric and World Cup winner Steven N’Zonzi.
They began the new campaign in dramatic fashion, with an 89th-minute effort from Edin Dzeko giving them all three points against Torino.