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Best Roma XI of All Time

Sat 25 September 2021 | 5:30

Join us as we take a look at some of the greatest AS Roma players of all time to pick the best Roma XI of all time:

Outside Serie A’s famous Big Three clubs (AC Milan, Inter Milan and Juventus), AS Roma has been one of the most successful teams in Italy. The club has a huge fan base and following worldwide and has enjoyed moderate success over the years when the opportunity has presented itself. With 3 Serie A titles and 9 Coppa Italia trophies (2nd only to Juventus’ 14) as well as a couple of European final appearances, Roma has had its fair share of glory.

But the thing that usually attracts fans to Roma has been its players. Over the years the mighty Giallarossi has had some of the best Seie A players or even some of the best in football playing for them. With loyalty being a big part of the culture of the club, most of these players have dedicated the majority of their career to AS Roma. Players like the Il Capitano himself, Francesco Totti, to Bruno Conti and Giannini. With that said, now let’s get down to it and see who else is on our

best Roma XI of all time

:

AS Roma’s All-Time Greatest XI

As always with these kind of lists, there were a lot of worthy players, like Roberto Pruzzo, Vincent Candela or even Gabriel Batistuta that didn’t make it into our AS Roma's all-time greatest XI. But here is the 11 that did:

Goalkeeper: Franco Tancredi

First player on our list of AS Roma best all-time XI is their legendary goalkeeper, Franco Tancredi. Born in Giulianova, Franco Tancredi started his career playing for the local club Giulianova before moving to AC Milan in 1974. After not finding his way to the first team at Milan, he then joined Serie B side

Rimini

where he attracted AS Roma’s interest after only a season, joining the capital-based club in 1977. Tancredi would go on to play for Roma for 13 seasons and become one of their most decorated players before retiring in 1991 after a short spell with Torino.

Despite his relatively small stature (1.76m) as a goalkeeper, Franco Tancredi was known to be one of the best shot-stoppers of his generation. the Italian goalkeeper also represented his country 12 times between 1984 and 1986 and even got to be on Italy’s 1986 World Cup squad but all of his appearances for the Azzuri came in friendly matches. throughout his career he gained a reputation for being a penalty-stopper and a good distributor of the ball.

Tancredi was part of that legendary AS Roma side of the 1980s. he got to play a huge role in AS Roma winning the Serie A in the 1982-83 season, the same season they reached the Champions League (European Cup) but lost to Liverpool. He also got to win 4 Coppa Italia titles with Roma and was inducted into AS Roma’s Hall of Fame in 2012. After his retirement, Tancredi became a goalkeeper coach and even got to have a spell with Roma in 2011.

Right Back: Cafu

Undoubtedly one of the

best right backs

, if not the best, to ever grace a football pitch, Cafu is the first outfield player in our

Roma all-time best XI

. Known to have revolutionized and perfected the role of a right back, the Brazilian Cafu joined Roma in 1997 and went on to play for the club in the following 6 seasons before departing to join AC Milan in 2003. During his time with Roma, Cafu quickly became one of the best full backs in the world and even helped Roma win an scudetto title in 2001.

Born in 1970, Marcos Evangelista de Morais or as football fans know him, Cafu, started his football at Sao Paolo and went on to have spells at Zaragoza, Palmeiras and Juventude. By the time he joine Roma, he was already a World Cup winner (1994) and an established name. known for his explosive runs on the right flank, Cafu was the very image of a complete full back and even player. His pace and incredible work rate led to him being called Il Pendolino (the Express Train) and rightfully so as he passed defenders as well as the best wingers and delivered inch perfect crosses.

In defense, Cafu was one of the toughest opponents anyone could face because of his work-rate and tenacity and in attack he became one of the best assisters in the league, making him one of the greatest full backs and Roma players of all time, which is why he deservedly is on our best Roma XI of all time. He scored 8 goals in 175 matches he played for Roma, helping them to the 2000-01 Serie A title as well as captaining Brazil to yet another World Cup trophy in 2002.

Left Back: Sebastiano Nela

Another player from that legendary 1980s Roma side to appear on our Roma all-time best XI is Sebastiano Nela. The Rapallo-born full back started his career at

Genoa

in 1978 and joined Roma in 81 at the age of 20. He went on to play for

Giallorossi

for 11 seasons achieving unprecedented success with Roma. Primarily a left-back, Nela could be deployed anywhere in the backline or as a sweeper. He even got to play as a central midfielder a few times due to his versatility.

A versatile left-footed full back, Nela was known for his explosive pace and physicality he showed while operating on the flanks. He would often bombard forward to help the attack and had the pace to track back and stop any incoming threats. He could also play as a right back or sweeper at times.

Sebastiano Nela was another part of the Roma side that won the 1982-83 scudetto and reached the European Cup final. He represented AS Roma 397 times and other than that Serie A title, won 3 Coppa Italia titles as well before joining Napoli in 1992. Nela also represented the Italian national team 5 times between 1984 and 1987 and even got to be on the squad that went to the 1986 World Cup. he is one of the dozen players inducted into Roma’s Hall of Fame and should be a part of any best Roma XI of all time list.

Center Back: Aldair

Next up we have another Brazilian defender, Aldair, who is also considered to be one of the greatest Brazilian defenders of all time. Joining Roma from Benfica in 1990, Aldair was a mainstay in Roma’s back bone for 13 seasons helping the club finally achieve their 3rd Serie A title. a beast of a defender, Aldair was just one of those players that no attacker would get passed easily, making him one of the

best defenders

of Serie A in the 90s, in a league known for its great defenders!

Starting his career at Flamengo, Aldair spent 4 seasons with the club before joining Benfica for a season long spell. There he was spotted by Roma scouts and brought to Stadio Olimpico. Although Aldair was not particularly tall (1.82), his physique and demeanor made him quite intimidating for attackers. He was known for his last-gasp tackles and clearances. Being Brazilian also meant that he was quite comfortable on the ball which allowed him to at times play the role of a sweeper excellently, making him a great asset to the attack-minded Roma of the 90s.

Aldair has the 5th most number of appearances in the history of AS Roma with 436, in which he scored 21 goals. during this period, he was able to win the Coppa Italia in his debute season but had to wait a decade for his 2nd piece of Silverware, which was the Serie A in 2000-01 season. adittionally he won the 1994 World Cup, against Italy, and was runner-up in 1998. He is simply the best center back in the history of Roma.

Center Back: Giacomo Losi

The first One-Club man on our AS Roma's all-time greatest XI is Giacomo Losi, who spent the entirety of his career at Roma between 1955 and 1969. Despite not being a Rome native himself, Losi was known as for his dedication to the club. The legendary defender started his career as a

full back

and later got to play as a center back but his best position was as a sweeper where he used his massive strength. Considered to be one of the greatest Roma players of all time.

Born in Soncino in the province of Cremona, Losi started his youth career with the local club Cremonese before joining Roma in 1955. He went on to become a mainstay at Roma, inheriting the captain’s armband after 5 seasons, which he kept for a decade before his eventual retirement in 1969. In a particular match against Sampdoria in 1961, which was level at 2-2, Losi got injured but without any substitutions available, he continued to play and even got to break the deadlock by scoring and winning the game for Roma, after which he was named “

Core de Roma

“ or the Heart of Rome by fans.

Losi held the record for most appearances for Roma, with 450 appearances, for 38 years before Francesco Totti eventually took over in 2007. Losi got to play 11 times for Azzuri too, representing them in the 1962 World Cup. he has won the Inter-Cities Fair Cup with Roma in 1961 and two Coppa Italias in 1964 and 1969, cementing his place as a Roma legend and among our best Roma XI of all time.

Defensive Midfielder: Danielle De Rossi

So here is a player that modern football fans may be more familiar with since he is the youngest player to feature in this best Roma XI of all time. The great Danielle De Rossi, who is yet another player that dedicated all of his career (well, almost all!) to Roma, representing the club from 2001 till 2019, winning 3 pieces of Silverware with them and putting on the Roma Shirt more than any other player in the club’s history except for Francesco Totti.

A native of the city of Rome, Danielle De Rossi joined their academy ranks in 2000 but he was so good that he made his first-team debut a year later. It didn’t take long till he became a regular at Roma, playing beside his idol, Totti. Although more defensive than Totti, Danielle De Rossi was the very image of a perfect midfielder. Defend, attack, win back the ball, deliver assists or take frightening shots from outside the bos, the man could do it all and soon became one of the

greatest midfielders of his generation

.

At 23, he won the 2006 World Cup with Italy and proceeded to win two Coppa Italia trophies in two consecutive seasons after that. He represented Roma in 616 matches and scored 63 goals for them while having a long career with Italy too (117 matches and 21 goals). when it comes to how good a player he was, De Rossi is a bit of an underrated figure since he refused to transfer to any supposed “big team” but for Roma fans he will always be one of the greatest players who put on that red and yellow jersey!

Midfielder: Giuseppe Giannini

Before there ever was a Francesco Totti, there was Giuseppe Giannini who was considered to be the poster boy and the symbol of AS Roma. a vital part of our Roma all-time best XI, Giannini was a complete midfielder that had a bit of everything. Known as the Prince for his grace on the pitch, Giannini spent almost the entirety of his career at Roma, becoming one of the greatest players in the club’s history.

Giannini joined Roma at the age of 16 and made his debut for the club a year later. Primarily a deep lying playmaker that was described as a

fantasista

, Giannini had excellent technique and ball-carrying capabilities as well as incredible vision in finding his teammates in dangerous position. Giannini could also be deployed as a second striker, attacking midfielder or a

mezzalla

too. he also had an eye for goal and could strike the ball flawlessly with either foot which led to him scoring 75 times for Roma in the 435 matches he played for the club.

As one of the best midfielders of his era, Giannini played a major role in several tournaments for Italy, representing his country 47 times and scoring 6 goals between 1986 and 1991. He was part of the Team of the Tournament for the 1988 European Championship and two years later helped Italy to a third place finish in the 1990 World Cup.

A massive part of the

best Roma XI of all time

, Giannini was a key factor in AS Roma’s reemergence as a big club in the 1980s and although he was only a teenager when they won the

Serie A

in 1983, it was with his leadership, and later captaincy, that the club won 3 Coppa Italia titles. Giannini dedicated 15 years of his life to Roma before leaving the club in 1996. He retired from football 3 years later after spells with Sturm Graz, Napoli and Lecce before going into management.

Midfielder: Falcao

Next player on the

AS Roma's all-time greatest XI

needs no introduction. One of the greatest Brazilian players of all time, the legendary Falcao joined AS Roma at the peak of his career in 1980 and during the course of 5 years with the Giallarossi became one of the greatest midfielders in the history of football as well as becoming one of the best Roma players of all time. A complete midfielder that was both technically-gifted as well as being a hard worker, Falcao usually teamed up with Carlo Ancelotti at Roma to make them one of the most organized teams in Italy at the time.

Born as Paulo Roberto Falcão in the city of Abelardo Luz in Brazil, Falcao developed his skills as a midfielder at Brazil’s Internacional before joining Roma in 1980. As a midfielder, Falcao was considered a deep-lying playmaker where his considerable amount of work-rate helped Roma control the midfield and then he used his Brazilian technique and flair and brought creativity to Roma’s play. He was a physically strong player and possessed spectacular vision which he executed with his world-class passing.

During his 5 seasons at the club, Falcao helped Roma win 2 Coppa Italia trophies as well as the Serie A in the 1982-83 season. the following season he played a big role in getting AS Roma to the European Cup final but due to injury could not make a huge impact in the game and didn’t even take a penalty at the end of the match, as Roma were beaten by

Liverpool

. This soured his relationship with the club and he ended up leaving Roma a year later. But despite the bitter end, his influence in perhaps the best era of AS Roma’s history cannot be denied which is why he totally deserves a spot on any best Roma XI of all time.

Right Winger: Bruno Conti

As the right winger for our

AS Roma best all-time XI

, we have one of the best ever Italian players, Bruno Conti. Known as the Mayor of Rome, Conti was an explosive winger that like several players on this list, spent the entirety of his career at Roma (although he had two loan spells with Genoa in his early days). During the 18 years that he spent at Roma, Conti established himself as one of the best wingers in the world and went to play an integral role in Italy winning the 1982 World Cup.

Despite his small stature (1.69m), Conti’s ridiculous amount of technique and talent as well as his inch-perfect delivery and explosive pace, made him very hard to ignore as a youngster and he quickly rose to the top. Originally left-footed, Conti was often deployed as a right winger but he could also play on the left flank or as an attacking midfielder as well. He was capable of delivering crosses with both his feet and could also hit the ball from the distance perfectly, although he usually opted to create chances rather than finishing them. His dribbling, pace and overall delivery made him a nightmare for defenders.

At his peak, Conti helped Italy win the 1982 World Cup against all odds and in spectacular fashion and then went on to help Roma win the scudetto the following season. in addition to these, he also won 5 Coppa Italias with Roma, which is more than any other player amongst the best Roma XI of all time. Conti was one of the original inductees of AS Roma Hall of Fame in 2012 and will remain as one of the greatest Italian and AS Roma players of all time.

Left Winger: Francesco Totti

You knew

Il Capitano

had to be on this list as soon as you all saw the title of the article. There can be no best Roma XI of all time without the club’s greatest player or as Roma fans so deftly put it: “no Totti, no party”. What is there to say about Roma’s legendary captain that hasn’t been said before. There is no greater loyalty in football than that of Francesco Totti who despite being pursued by every club under the sun always remained loyal to his beloved Roma, building a legacy and an empire at the club which will never be forgotten.

Francesco joined Roma in 1989 after a string of spells at other Rome-based football academies and after declining the offer of Roma’s bitter rivals, Lazio. He made his debut at 16, in 1992 and pretty soon followed in the footsteps of players like Giannini. Over the course of the next 25 seasons, Totti became one of the greatest players to ever grace a football pitch.

Usually deployed as an attacking midfielder or a second striker, Totti could fill any attacking role or any role across the midfield for that matter. One of the most technically gifted players in history, Totti could dribble his way passed any defender. you could put together a movie out of the clips of him doing skills on the pitch and yet all of his tricks and skills were in the service the team. As was his considerable playmaking abilities which could rival any creative player at his best as well as his eye for goal which was phenomenon and even won him a Serie A top scorer award in 2007.

Francesco won the Serie A Player of the Year twice, helped Roma win 2 Coppa Italia and a Serie A title as well as playing a big part in Italy’s 2006 World Cup victory. He is the record appearance holder for Roma with 786 appearances and the club’s record goalscorer with 307 goals as well as being Serie A’s 2nd best

top scorer

. A symbol of the club, Totti is the embodiment of what AS Roma represents and there will never come anyone like him!

Striker: Amadeo Amadei

Last player to appear on our list of AS Roma best all-time XI is actually one of the first Gillarossi’s superstars, Amadeo Amadei, who played for the club in the 40s and helped the club win its first scudetto title. Still one of the top goal scorers in Roma history, Amadei was a beloved figure at Roma, so much so that the fans named him “the 8th King of Rome”. Known for his amazing acrobatic finishes as well as his pace, technique and great ball-carrying capabilities, Amadei is considered to be one of the greatest Italian strikers of all time.

Born in 1921, Amadeo Amadei went on to join AS Roma’s academy at a very young age and made his professional debut for the club in Serie A in 1936 when he was aged 15 years and 280 days. He became the youngest ever debutant in Serie A history and a week later he scored for Roma in Serie A and became the youngest goalscorer in Serie A history, a record which he holds to this day.

However, Amadei had to play in Serie B with Atalanta for a season before coming back to Roma in 1939. After rejoining the Giallarossi, Amadei went on to score 111 goals in 234 matches in the course of next 9 seasons, helping the club to their first ever Serie A title in 1941 before departing the club in 1948 to join

Internazionale

, where he had a massively successful spell, and later

Napoli

.

Amadeo Amadei, who is the last entry on our

best Roma XI of all time

, was one of the first players to be inducted into Roma’s Hall of Fame. He retired from football in 1958 and continued on as a manager, even managing Italy’s women’s team in the 80s. he passed away in 24 November of 2013.

 

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