Cafu (1997-2003) – One of Brazil’s all-time great wing-backs who was nicknamed Il Pendolino (The Express Train) due to his indefatigable ability to run up and down the flank continuously for 90 minutes. Cafu played over 100 times in Serie A for Roma and was a key factor in their Scudetto success in 2001.
He was also a star in international football, playing at four world cups and three successive World Cup finals, two of which he won. He is the most capped Brazilian player of all-time and has won every major club honour in the game.
Giacomo Losi (1954-69) – One of the Giallorossi’s first real heroes, Losi earned his nickname Core de Roma (Heart of Rome) in 1961 when he played on against Sampdoria with the scores level at 2-2, despite being heavily injured. Heroically Losi scored with 10 minutes remaining and Roma won 3-2. A tough defender, who won 11 caps for Italy and played at the 1962 World Cup, Losi held the Roma appearance record for more than 38 years after he retired.
Aldair (1990-2003) – Brazil have never been blessed with too many great centre-backs over the years, however Aldair was one of them. In 13 superb seasons at the club he made 415 appearances, winning the Scudetto in 2001 under Fabio Capello. Tall, strong and stylish, Aldair won 93 caps for the Brazil national team, playing at Italia 90’, USA 94’ and France 98’, picking up a winners medal in the States. After he left Roma at the age of 37, the club retired his No.6 shirt in his honour.
Sebastiano Nela (1981-92) – Versatile left-sided defender, who made 395 appearances in 11 years at the club. Nela was part of Roma’s greatest ever team under Nils Liedholm in the early 1980s, a squad that won the 1983 Scudetto and lost to Liverpool on penalties in the final of the European Cup the following year. Due to the abundance of world-class Italian defenders around during his time-period, he was only capped five times by the Azzurri, although he was part of the 1986 World Cup squad who disappointed in Mexico.
Agostino Di Bartlomei (1972-84) – One of the biggest crimes in the history of Calcio was that Di Bartolomei never played for Italy. A skilful playmaker, who dictated the tempo of the game, ‘Ago’ was tall, elegant, and had fantastic vision and technical ability. He would regularly hit pinpoint 60-yard passes to a team-mate’s feet and would spot through-balls that most other players did not know existed. His style of play was in some ways similar to Andrea Pirlo today. Di Bartolomei played 308 games for Roma, scoring 66 goals, and captaining them to the Scudetto in 1983. He tragically committed suicide in 1994 at the age of 39, ten years to the day after Roma lost the European Cup Final on penalties to Liverpool.
Falcao (1980-85) – Roma turned down the chance to sign Zico in 1980 and the whole world laughed. They weren’t laughing for long however as Falcao (pictured above with Bruno Conti) soon showed himself to be possibly the most complete midfielder in world football during the early 1980s. Falcao was like a general on the field, brilliant tactically and technically, he was nicknamed the ‘Eighth King of Rome’. He won the Scudetto in 1983, while he also excelled for Brazil, playing in their legendary 1982 World Cup team. Indeed he scored in the classic 3-2 defeat to Italy during that tournament in Spain.
Giuseppe Giannini (1982-96) – Before Francesco Totti the symbol of Roma was Giannini. Like Totti, this midfielder, turned down the big-money advances of the top teams to stay with his beloved hometown club. A brilliant playmaker with wonderful technique, he made over 400 appearances for Roma, scoring 75 goals. Sadly the years when he was at his peak coincided with a lean spell for the Giallorossi. He played 47 times for the Italian national team, and was a key player at Italia 90’, scoring during the group game against the U.S.A.
Bruno Conti (1973-90) – Quite probably Italy’s greatest winger of all-time, Conti, aside from two loan spells at Genoa in his formative years, spent his entire career with Roma. He made over 300 Serie A appearances for the club, winning the Scudetto in 1983. An incredibly skilful and tricky wideman, Conti would run rings around the most accomplished of defenders. His career high-point was in the 1982 World Cup when he was undoubtedly in my eyes the player of the tournament. He provided numerous assists during the competition, including the final goal for Alessandro Altobelli in the 3-1 final win over West Germany.
Roberto Pruzzo (1978-88) – Absolutely prolific goal-scorer, who was Capocannoniere in the Italian league three times during the 1980s. In total he scored 106 goals in 240 league games, including 12 during the 1983 Scudetto-winning campaign. The moustached Pruzzo once hit five goals in a match, during a 5-1 league win over Avellino in 1985/86. He was also a protagonist in Europe, hitting a vital double against Dundee Utd in the 1984 European Cup semi-final. In the subsequent final against Liverpool, he scored Roma’s equaliser, however he would go on to pick up a losers medal following a penalty shoot-out defeat.
Francesco Totti (1993-) – Symbolic Roma hero who made his debut for the club as a 16-year-old way back in 1993. Fifteen years later, he is still the focal point of the side and a Roma team without Totti is almost unthinkable. Er Pupone is now the Giallorossi’s record appearance-maker and all-time highest goal-scorer, and at the age of 31 he still has a fair few years left in his legs. Club captain Totti was one of the key members of the 2001 Scudetto success and when he does eventually retire he is likely to be remembered as Roma’s greatest ever player.
Cafu Losi Aldair Nela
Di Bartlomei Falcao
Cafu Losi Aldair Nela
Di Bartlomei Falcao