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AS Roma return to play in the Champions League after a one year absence. The Giallorossi’s last match in the competition was March 11, 2008, when they were knocked out by Arsenal in a penalties in the second round.. Now, with Marco Borriello and Adriano, who both arrived during the summer, the Giallorossi’s dream is to progress at least to the semi-finals.
STRENGTH & WEAKNESSES
Roma haven’t any special strengths, but some players like Daniele De Rossi, John Arne Riise, Juan and obviously Francesco Totti are world class. The defence seems well equipped and, unlike the past, coach Claudio Ranieri can count on a deep squad.
However, the right hand side is the Achilles heel of the team and some players, above all Jeremy Menez and Mirko Vucinic are too inconsistent for a great competition like the Champions League.
STARS & KEY PLAYERS
Totti is the best player in Roma’s history. Despite being 34-years-old, he is still a crucial player and when he isn’t available, his absence is felt. Moreover, De Rossi, who will be the next captain after Totti retires, is one of the five best midfielders in the world and a strong point also for Italian national team. But Roma’s key player is undoubtedly David Pizarro. The Chilean midfielder is the real brain of the team and there isn’t a substitute for him. Finally, Riise has proven to be one of the most reliable players in the international arena.
COACH & TACTICS
Ranieri is an excellent tactician. He often uses 4-4-2 formation, but with some variations that determine Vucinic or Menez’s positions. Roma usually line-up in a 4- 2-3-1 with Julio Sergio as goalkeeper, Cassetti and Riise as defenders side and Juan and Burdisso (or Mexes) as central defenders . De Rossi and Pizarro play as playmaker and two men between Totti, Perrotta, Vucinic, Menez and Taddei play behind a striker that will probably be Marco Borriello, if not Adriano or Totti himself.
Roma have never won the Champions League and have played in a final on one occasion. In the 1983-84 edition of the tournament, Roma lost against Liverpool in penalties. This is the best result achieved by Roma in the history of this competition.
The Olimpico is one of the main Italian stadiums. Roma shares it with SS Lazio, the other team in Rome. Olimpico can hold up to 72,000 people and, for Roma fans, it’s a kind of temple.
HERO OF THE FANS
The most beloved player is Francesco Totti. He is called ‘Il Capitano’ and he is considered the best player in the history of Roma. Another hero of the fans is Daniele De Rossi, named ‘Capitan Futuro’. Both he and Totti were born in the city of Rome, an important feature for ‘Magica’ fans. Another very beloved player is Philippe Mexes, considered by Roma fans as a Roman. Finally, Marco Borriello was welcomed as a hero by fans.
Roma were pretty lucky in the draw because, even if Giallorossi fail to challenge Bayern Munich, Basel and Cluj seem easy opponents and it’s very likely that Roma will progress to the second round
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