AS Roma Profile

Major Honours Serie A (3), Coppa Italia (9), Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (1)
Year Founded 1927

With three Serie A titles and nine Coppa Italias to their name, AS Roma are one of the most successful and well-known clubs in the history of Italian football.

AS Roma is a football club from Rome which plays in Italy's Serie A, the country's top football league. Roma is one of the most successful clubs in Italian football history, having won Serie A titles in 1941/42, 1982/83, and 2000/01, as well as the Coppa Italia in 1963/64, 1968/69, 1979/80, 1980/81, 1983/84, 1985/86, 1990/91, 2006/07, and 2007/08.

Arguably the most revered Roma legend is Francesco Totti, the iconic former striker who shone for the club between 1993 and 2017. Totti is famous for having turned down chances to play for more illustrious clubs, instead choosing to remain with Roma.

However, Totti is far from the only Roma legend. Among the other great players to don their colours have been Cafu, Carlo Ancelotti, Rudi Voller, Daniele de Rossi and Gabriel Batistuta. Even the legendary former Barcelona midfielder and iconic manager manager Pep Guardiola played for Roma, although his stint there was not particularly successful.

Early history

AS Roma was formed in 1927 as a merger between Roman FC, SS Alba-Audace and Fortitudo-Pro Roma SGS. The vision behind this process, initiated by Fascist Party representative Italo Foschi, was for Rome to have a strong representative to compete with Northern Italian clubs.

Lazio resisted the merger due to the intervention of army General Vaccaro and the rivalry between them and Roma was thus born. Lazio fans have always felt like outsiders in their own city, but to them, they are the true club of Rome.

Roma were inconsistent in the 1930s, but enjoyed particularly impressive seasons in 1930/31 and 1935/36, finishing as runners-up in the league in each.

In 1941/42, Roma were crowned champions of Italy. Amedeo Amadei's 18 goals proved crucial in the title race.

Post-war decline and recovery

Roma in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup

Roma struggled to recapture the magic of their 1941/42 triumph following the end of the Second World War. In 1950/51, they suffered their only relegation to Serie B ever.

Giuseppe Viani led Roma straight back up to the top flight and they once again became a stable top-half club.

In 1960/61, Roma won the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, beating Birmingham City 4-2 in the finals. This was their first European honour. They also won their first Coppa Italia trophy in 1963/64, beating Torino 1-0 to claim the prize.

However, a crisis was on the horizon. In 1964/65, manager Juan Carlos Lorenzo announced that AS Roma could not pay its players and the team was unlikely to be able to travel to Vicenza for its next fixture. Supporters set up a fundraiser for the club at the Sistine Theatre and the arrival of a new club president, Franco Evangelisti, saw Roma stay afloat. In 1968/69, Roma won a second Coppa Italia title.

The 1970s were unspectacular for Roma, with their best season coming in 1974/75, when they finished third.

1980s success

Roma enjoyed their best spell in four decades during the 1980s, thriving under the guidance of Niels Liedholm.

Liedholm's first trophy with Roma was the 1979/80 Coppa Italia, which saw them beat Torino in the final. In 1980/81, Roma came close to winning their second top flight title, but were controversially edged out by Juventus. Maurizio Turone's goal for Roma against Juve was contentiously disallowed for offside, allowing Juve to claim the title.

However, in 1982/83, nobody could stop Roma as they brought home the Scudetto. In 1984, they finished as runners-up in the European Cup, losing to Liverpool on penalties in the final after a 1-1 draw.

After Liedholm's departure in 1984, the rest of the 1980s were unspectacular, although Liedholm did return to the club from 1987 to 1989 and again in 1996.

Roma lost to Inter Milan in an all-Italian UEFA Cup final in 1991. However, a new star of the show was about to emerge.

The Francesco Totti era

Francesco Totti battles with Yaya Toure

Francesco Totti joined Roma's academy in 1989 and made his first team debut on 28 March 1993 in a 2-0 away win over Brescia.

The following season, Carlo Mazzone converted Totti to a second striker and he quickly began to truly make his mark. By 1995, he was very much a first team regular, and in the late 1990s, he regularly contributed assists and goals.

This was a largely unspectacular period for Roma, although they managed to finish fourth in Serie A in 1997/98. However, Roma built a dream team that once again ruled Italy in the early 2000s.

The likes of Totti, Aldair, Cafu, Gabriel Batistuta and Vincenzo Montella fired Roma to title glory in 2000/01 under the guidance of Fabio Capello.

Roma remained competitive throughout the early 2000s, but this coincided with an era in which Juventus and AC Milan were particularly strong.

In 2003/04, Roma finished as runners-up to AC Milan, with Totti scoring 20 goals in Serie A. However, the following season, they dropped all the way down to eighth with the departures of Walter Samuel and Emerson severely hurting the team's performances.

Luciano Spalletti took over as AS Roma manager and deployed Totti as the lone striker in a 4-2-3-1 system. By 2006/07, it had well and truly paid off, with Totti finishing as top scorer in Serie A with 26 goals. Once again, Roma were a regular presence in the UEFA Champions League.

Claudio Ranieri took over from Spalletti when his project appeared to be falling apart following a poor start to the 2009/10 season. Roma finished the season in second place after Ranieri steered the ship in the right direction.

Ranieri resigned in February 2011, in the middle of a turbulent 2010/11 season. It took Roma some time before they would once again be as competitive as they were under him.

Rudi Garcia took over as manager in 2013 and propelled Roma to back-to-back runners-up finishes in Serie A behind a dominant Juventus team in 2013/14 and 2014/15.

Garcia was sacked midway through the 2015/16 season and replaced by Spalletti, who returned to the role. Spalletti received public criticism from Totti due to his lack of playing time and subsequently dropped him. This caused outrage, but there was a marriage of convenience eventually as Spalletti used Totti as an impact sub.

Roma finished third in Serie A in 2015/16 and second the following season - Totti's last at the club. He made his last Roma appearance in the 3-2 home win over Genoa, coming on as a substitute for Mohamed Salah, a mercurial winger who was eventually sold to Liverpool, where he became a huge success.

Eusebio di Francesco and Ranieri enjoyed spells in charge of Roma in the post-Totti era before current manager Paulo Fonseca took over. Roma have once again lost their way to some extent. In recent years, they have had to sell key players to balance the books and they now often struggle to qualify for the UEFA Champions League.

AS Roma fans

Roma hooligans in the Curva Nord

AS Roma fans are generally known to be more left-leaning than the Lazio ultras. This is ironic, in a sense, given Roma's initial ties to the fascist party, but the club has changed much since.

There have been multiple instances of alleged violence from AS Roma ultras even in recent years against fans of foreign and local opponents alike.

Roma's ultras are named the 'Fedayns', who immerse themselves in violence and corruption, and are constantly shrouded in controversy, most recently in the 2018 Champions League semi-final in Liverpool.

Liverpool fan, Sean Cox was left hospitalised after an unprovoked attack from masked members of the Fedayn ultras. The incident was condemned throughout both England and Italy and across world football, bringing the club to shame.

Although, Roma's fan problem is much less of a concern than it was in the 20th century, the club are yet to fully eradicate the issue, as the problem of hooliganism continues to loom above them.

AS Roma rivalries

Derbies between Lazio and Roma are notorious for being emotionally charged. The fixture is known as the Derby della Capitale.

Divided by football, politics and history but united by the Stadio Olimpico, the rivalry between the two has escalated to the point where it is now renowned as one of the fiercest in the world.

In addition to an on-field rivalry, the football between the two teams is often marred by controversy with issues between the two groups of fans off it, including crime, corruption, fights and even murder.

The rivalry exceeds that of football, it is viewed by the polarising groups as an opportunity to push their agenda, religious views and political beliefs and is likely to continue for many years to come.

Roma also have a fierce rivalry with Napoli. The fixture between the two clubs is known as the Derby del Sole (Derby of the Sun).

This stems from the fact that both clubs are considered to be the biggest outside the north of Italy, with Roma hailing from the centre of Italy and Napoli being a Southern-Italian outfit.

There are rivalries with AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus which are motivated mostly by a desire to be Italy's top dogs. These are the three teams which have been the biggest obstacle to Roma's Serie A ambitions.

AS Roma finances

The Friedkin Group are majority shareholders (86.6%) in AS Roma. The club has experienced some level of financial difficulty in recent years, leading to them having to sell top players.

At the end of the 2019 financial year, Roma were reportedly €264million in debt. However, the Friedkin Group only took over as owners in 2020 and early indications from their reign are positive.

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