SS Lazio Profile
|Major Honours||Serie A (2), Coppa Italia (7), Supercoppa Italiana (5), UEFA Cup Winners' Cup (1), UEFA Super Cup (1)|
Rome's original soccer club with a well-documented political history with a fanbase among the most vocal and passionate in Europe, Lazio have had a long history and periods of success and difficulty.
Societa Sportiva Lazio is an Italian sports club based in Rome, known mostly for its football team which plays in Serie A, the highest division of Italian football. Lazio won Serie A in 1973/74 and 1999/2000 and have also won the Coppa Italia on seven occasions.
Important players to turn out for Lazio have included Alessandro Nesta, Paolo Di Canio, Paul Gascoigne, Pavel Nedved, and Miroslav Klose.
Lazio started out as an amateur club after being founded in 1900. They joined the Italian Football Federation's league competition in 1912. They were the only club in Rome who resisted the fascist government's attempt to merge all teams in the city into what would become AS Roma in 1927.
Lazio's official website states that the origin of their 'eagle' crest was founded as an eagle was the symbol of the Roman legions. As for their kit colours of sky blue and white, they were chosen through inspiration from the flag of Greece, due to their creation of the modern Olympics just six years beforehand, aligning with Lazio as a multi-sports club in their early years.
In 1929, they played in the first organised Serie A, and in 1937, Lazio had their best pre-war campaign, finishing second thanks largely to the leadership of striker Silvio Piola.
Becoming 1974 Serie A champions
Lazio enjoyed solid league form in the 1950s and won the Coppa Italia in 1958, but they were relegated from Serie A in 1961.
Although they were back in Serie A two years later, Lazio were relegated again in 1970/71. They won immediate promotion under the guidance of Tommaso Maestrelli and this time broke the cycle of promotion and relegation, becoming instant challengers for the Scudetto.
In 1972/73, Lazio lost the title on the final day of the season, finishing two points behind Juventus and one behind AC Milan.
In 1973/74, Maestrelli's side went all the way, picking up the Serie A title by beating Juventus to the crown by two points. Darlington-born captain Giuseppe Wilson got his hands on the trophy which Lazio had coveted for decades.
Giorgio Chinaglia was the key striker for Lazio that season, scoring 24 goals in the club's 30 Serie A matches and topping the overall Serie A scoring charts.
Lazio were relegated to Serie B along with AC Milan in 1980 as a result of a scandal over illegal bets on their own matches. They only returned to the top flight in 1983 and were relegated again in 1984/85.
As a result of the 1980 scandal, five Lazio players were given lengthy playing bans along with the club's relegation.
In 1986, Lazio were rocked by another betting scandal, which earned them a nine-point deduction - a hefty punishment given that a win was only worth two points. Their own player, Claudio Vinazzani, was at the centre of it.
Lazio were also implicated in the Calciopoli scandal of 2006, whereby clubs were accused of trying to ensure favourable referees were appointed to their matches. Lazio were given a three-point deduction for their part in the foul play, along with being removed from the 2006/07 UEFA Cup and forced to play two home matches behind closed doors.
In 2012, club captain Stefano Mauri was arrested for his alleged involvement in another match-fixing scandal, for which he was given a six-month playing ban.
Lazio's golden years
After Lazio narrowly avoided relegation to Serie C, they gradually rebuilt. Sergio Cragnotti bought the club in 1992 and set Lazio on a path to glory. His big-name signings included Paul Gascoigne and later Christian Vieri and Juan Sebastian Veron.
Lazio finished second in Serie A in 1995, third in 1996 and fourth in 1997 before the arrival of Sven-Goran Eriksson as manager.
In 1997/98, Lazio finished seventh in Serie A, but they won the Coppa Italia. The following campaign, they finished second in the league, finishing only a solitary point behind AC Milan.
The 1999/2000 season was the most successful in Lazio's history. A team containing the likes of Nesta, Sinisa Mihajlovic, Marcelo Salas and Pavel Nedved won the Serie A and Coppa Italia double under Eriksson's guidance, alongside the Supercoppa Italiana [Italian Super Cup] to complete a treble-winning season.
In 2000, Lazio broke the world transfer record, signing striker Hernan Crespo for a £35million fee from Parma. Lazio paid £16million in cash and transferred Matias Almeyda and Sergio Conceicao for the Argentina striker's services.
Crespo was the top Serie A goalscorer in 2000/01, but Lazio finished third in the league after Eriksson resigned in January and was replaced by Dino Zoff.
The bravado would not last much longer as Lazio hit financial strife. In 2002, Cragnotti was forced to leave Lazio due to a scandal involving his food products multinational Cirio. For the next two years, Lazio was under the control of caretaker financial managers and a bank pool.
A player exodus was the inevitable outcome. Crespo left for Inter Milan in 2002 and homegrown captain Nesta departed for AC Milan with a heavy heart the same year.
Claudio Lotito acquired the majority of the club, which he still holds today, in 2004. Although they qualified for the 2006/07 UEFA Cup, they were excluded due to their involvement in the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal.
The club's resurgence and adding silverware
In 2008/09, Lazio finally returned to lifting silverware as they won the Coppa Italia, beating Sampdoria in the final.
In 2009/10, they beat an Inter side which would go on to win the treble in the Supercoppa Italiana, with goals coming from Matuzalem and Tommaso Rocchi in Beijing.
In 2012/13, Senad Lulic's goal saw Lazio beat AS Roma 1-0 in the final of the Coppa Italia. They picked up the prize again in 2018/19, beating Atalanta 2-0 in the final under the guidance of Simone Inzaghi, a former Lazio striker. Lazio have also won the Supercoppa Italiana in 2017 and 2019 under Inzaghi's guidance.
The 2019/20 season saw Lazio mount a surprise title challenge under the guidance of Inzaghi. A poor run of form following the resumption of Serie A after it had been put on hold by the COVID-19 pandemic ultimately cost them the title. Lazio finished fourth in the league, five points behind champions Juventus.
In the 2020/21 UEFA Champions League, Lazio finished second in their group behind Borussia Dortmund, setting up a last 16 tie against Bayern Munich.
A crucial player for Lazio in the Inzaghi era has been striker Ciro Immobile, who joined the club in 2016 and has since been Serie A joint-top scorer in 2017/18 and outright top scorer in 2019/20.
The Derby della Capitale
Lazio's Derby della Capitale [Derby of the Capital City] rivalry with Roma is politically rooted, with Lazio's ultras having historically embraced far-right ideologies and Roma supporters having leaned to the left. However, this is no longer the case universally in the matches today.
As of January 2021, Lazio trail their city rivals in the overall head-to-head by 71 wins to 54, with the first match between the two adversaries taking place in 1929. In more than 190 matches, though, only one has come in a cup final - with Lazio coming out on top to win a hotly-contested and emotionally charged Coppa Italia final in 2013.
Such is the strength of the rivalry between the teams, just 11 players have been brave enough to play for both Roma and Lazio in the entire history of the derby.
Napoli and Livorno are also fierce rivals of Lazio, as are Pescara and Atalanta. Fiorentina, Juventus and AC Milan are also viewed as rivals, although Lazio supporters have historically had relatively friendly relations with Inter Milan fans.
Lazio are famous for their support base which has historically had links to right-wing political ideologies, particularly the far-right ultras.
Lazio play their home matches at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, which has a capacity of 70,634 - a stadium which they share with fierce rivals Roma. The same arrangement takes place between Inter and AC Milan at San Siro in Milan.
Their most passionate supporters fill the Curva Nord at the Stadio Olimpico, providing the majority of their atmosphere at home games.
Although he took the club out of a dark period in 2004, Lotito is known for not spending heavily, often to the disappointment of Lazio supporters.
After losing MarathonBet as their main shirt sponsor due to rules regarding betting companies sponsoring Italian football clubs, Lazio will be hoping to make up for lost revenue during their UEFA Champions League campaigns.
Lazio were the first Italian team to take a listing on the Milan stock exchange.
SS Lazio News
- Jan 16, 2023