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Friday January 24 2020
Lazio the real power in Rome now

Lazio have grown both on and off the field in recent years, as Susy Campanale sees them rivalling Roma to become the leading light in the Capital.

The Lazio motto in recent years has been La Prima Squadra della Capitale – the first team in the Capital. This refers to the fact they were founded before rivals AS Roma, but have historically always been considered the smaller club, in terms of fanbase, success and influence. However, things are changing in the Eternal City.

Claudio Lotito may be criticised for his hard-line stance on some players, refusal to negotiate with other clubs and harsh communication style, but for all his unpopularity with his own fans, he’s building something truly solid. While Roma wave goodbye to star name after star name, supporters knowing any talent is only passing through until the right bid comes along, Lazio have resisted proposals from bigger clubs, keeping hold of the likes of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Ciro Immobile.

Lazio were practically bankrupt when Lotito took over, but his austerity measures have not just balanced the books, they have also bred success where their neighbours failed. In the last eight years of Juventus domination, nobody has won as many trophies as the Biancocelesti, taking two editions of the Coppa Italia and two Supercoppa Italiana victories.

Roma reached the Champions League semi-final, but promptly sold most of the players who got them there. Is that really a success story or just a way of milking the squad for fresh funds? The Giallorossi have not won a single piece of silverware since James Pallotta took over the club in 2014, whereas in the same period their cousins have lifted the Italian Supercup twice and the Coppa Italia. Most damning of all, Lazio won that Coppa Italia Final against Roma.

They go head-to-head on Sunday evening and it should be a fascinating encounter. Lazio are on a club record run of 11 consecutive Serie A victories, with Immobile the runaway Capocannoniere, so you could take wagers on them making it 12 in the Derby della Capitale.

There is more to comparisons between clubs than simply their results against each other. They have different infrastructures, ambitions, balance sheets and fanbases.

Roma have been pushing to build their own stadium for years now, but Lotito mentioned a new arena a decade ago. Being from the Capital and knowing how things work there, he was smart enough not to plough money into an idea that had little chance of a quick resolution. He kept it relatively vague and is waiting for the right time, when the red tape limiting new sporting projects loosens its grip a little.

There were reports in pre-season that Simone Inzaghi wanted to move on, or that the club was eyeing up other candidates, but they never really seemed close to a separation. Inzaghi is tied in with the Lazio identity, a former player, then youth team coach and eventually the architect of a well-drilled team. While Roma seem oddly desperate to rid themselves of all connections to the beating heart of this club – Francesco Totti, Daniele De Rossi, no doubt Alessandro Florenzi next – the Aquile try to form a consistent skeleton of the squad.

There are some drawbacks to the Lazio approach, namely their lack of strength in depth, which makes succeeding in more than one tournament improbable. They have always snubbed the Europa League, rotating the squad and doing the bare minimum, only to then blame the referee when losing to frankly inferior sides. If they finally do qualify for the Champions League, then we could really see investment in other options for defence, midfield and attack. Who knows what they’d be capable of then?

Roma still have a much larger fanbase, both within the city limits and all over the world, and that probably will not change anytime soon. However, here too, Lotito deserves credit for taking much-needed action. Banning fans for racist behaviour can only curb behaviour to a degree. The Lazio President sent out individual letters to the 16 supporters identified making those Fascist salutes and demanded they repay the €50,000 in damages from a UEFA fun, the cost of having to play with an empty section of the stands and for the effect the story had on their reputation.

Lotito has been battling the hard-line ultras for years, which is why he is so unpopular with the fanbase, but it’s a fight that needs to be undertaken. If there’s one thing holding the club back now, it’s those few in the stands who are intent on ruining Lazio’s reputation.

Have your say...
Dimitri: writer of "How funny this looks like now, after this Sunday's match,blah blah blah & "HOW DID THIS TEAM FOUND ITSELF AT 3RD POSITION?!" I will endeavour to explain it to you in grammatically correct english. Lazio P22 W15 D5 L2 Pts 50 Roma P22 W11 D6 L5 Pts 39 Yes, the mighty Roma have totally outplayed us into an 11 point cushion where we have a real chance of the title and are a certainty for the Champions league, while the pathetic giallorossi fade away. Pathetic
on the 6th February, 2020 at 11:51pm
How funny this looks like now, after this Sunday's match, in which the "great & exciting" Lazio team, who had become "the real power in Rome now", hadn't done a thing & were totally outplayed by Roma in every possible way! Watching them on the derby, one could only be left asking him/herself questions, HOW DID THIS TEAM FOUND ITSELF AT 3RD POSITION?! The fact of the matter is that aside sporadic moments of truly good play, they just know how to play & win against weaker teams!
on the 28th January, 2020 at 8:15pm
It sure looked like the only "power" in Rome right now is Roma... Lazio had nothing this past sunday. Nothing.
on the 28th January, 2020 at 10:08am
Lol Lazio fans are cuz nobody cares about their club
on the 26th January, 2020 at 5:33am
They will always be small club at the capital. It's not about their performance on the field, it's about their supporters are the Nazis stealing oxygen on the Earth.
on the 26th January, 2020 at 2:01am
Great article. Lazio are an exciting team to watch.
on the 24th January, 2020 at 10:15pm
This is a well coached team. Do they have enough firepower and cohesiveness to challenge Juve and Inter, time and luck will tell.
Lotito has a chance now to streghten this team and challenge for the Scudetto, will he spend?
Roma continues to fail when they are presented with a challenge to ascend and Lazio is winning the city's fans.
Can Inzaghi continue to play this exciting football, confident and fearless, If so anything can happen even with bumps along the way. Bravo Lazio, Bravo Inzaghi!
on the 24th January, 2020 at 9:07pm
@Hamid

Strange is that they had wrote something about Lazio. Still bunch of cliches, but something.
on the 24th January, 2020 at 7:24pm
Especially for an ardent Riommanista.. Shes just trying to tempt fate as it is the only thing that can stop the mighty Lazio
on the 24th January, 2020 at 7:06pm
Oh, Susy is writing something positive about Lazio... STRANGE!!!
on the 24th January, 2020 at 4:46pm

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