Sunday June 14 2020
Greatest All-Time Roma XI

There’s no doubting who gets the Number 10 jersey, but do you agree with Wayne Girard’s other choices for the best Roma XI of all time?

GK: Alisson

Walter Sabatini was quick to sign Internacional talent Alisson and bring him over to Europe, for the next year allowing him to quietly improve under the Giallorossi’s renowned goalkeeping staff. The 2017-18 season was the strongest of a ‘keeper in Roma’s history. His positioning, control, and overall demeanour led Roma to the Champions League semi-final, where they were eliminated by Alisson’s future employers, Liverpool. Dubbed the “Messi of ‘keepers” by an ex-coach, his success since leaving the Capital has further contributed to his once-in-a-generation reputation.

RB: Marcos Cafu

It’s easy to pick the side’s top right-back when they had probably the best one who ever played the game. Marcos Evangalista de Morais, aka Cafu, invented the wing back position and is Brazil’s most capped player of all time. Cafu entered into a Giallorossi squad that was building a foundation for success, and Il Pendolino eventually starred as they went on to win the 2001 Serie A title under Fabio Capello. He earned the nickname Pendolino after the commuter train that goes up and down the country, replicated by his constant running on the right flank. Cafu is an honorary member of the legends that are often celebrated within Roma’s Curva Sud.



CB: Aldair

Aldair is the modern defender’s dream, who happened to enjoy his prime 20 years ago. He could play the long ball forward, the short and simple pass between the lines, and recover against the fastest attackers. If he were not so incredibly talented in defence, he could just as well have been one of the most elegant centre-midfielders to have touched the ball. Aldair remains the only player to have his number retired by the club - the legendary No. 6. In 1998, he famously saw the future of Roma and refused the captain’s armband, handing it over to local lad Francesco Totti.

CB: Juan

In 2007, Roma signed an underappreciated defender from Bayer Leverkusen. Juan quickly became the leader of the Lupi’s defensive line, partnering the storied Philippe Mexes. Together, they added a ruggedness, paired with Juan’s class on the ball and ability to co-ordinate from deep within his lines. In his first year, Roma won the Coppa Italia, and then repeated it the following season. It was the last domestic trophy the club has won.

LB: Vincent Candela

Only a Frenchman could break up the harmony of Roma’s all-Brazilian defence. Candela may as well have been Roman though, for he is another member of the club’s last Serie A winning side. The battle between him and Aleksandar Kolarov came down to the trophy cabinet. Candela’s game was similar to Cafu’s in the sense that both players were ahead of their time in surging forward, but the former added stability when the latter pressed the opposition. Still a fan favourite, his quick thinking and even faster feet made him one of the most well-rounded players in any Roma side.

CM: Agostino Di Bartolomei

The story of his death mustn’t overshadow the fact that Ago was an incredible player. Born and bred in Rome, he scored 63 goals for his hometown club over eight years, and epitomized the extreme mentality and fervor of the city. He could act as an offensive playmaker, pure central midfielder, or in a more defensive role. In contrast to his passion for the club, he was calm, yet stern on the pitch. He could play the perfect pass, connect and combine in the centre of the pitch, or go for goal. After becoming captain, he led Roma to the 1980 and 1981 Coppa Italia trophies. Due to the talent overload in midfield, his strength was best served as a defensive midfielder, where he was instrumental in their 1983 Scudetto success. He lived on with the guilt of losing to Liverpool in the 1984 Champions League Final, even though he converted his penalty kick. His suicide in 1994, 10 years to the day since that defeat, will always be a wound on Roma’s soul.

CM: Daniele De Rossi

For so many years, De Rossi was ‘Capitan Futuro’ – the future captain – but when Totti finally retired, the heir didn’t last long before he too was pushed out. Danielino was just as much a fan as he was a player, recently donning a disguise to experience the Derby della Capitale from inside the Curva Sud. It is impossible for a Roma fan to pick just one favorite moment to a player who dedicated a lifetime to the club, but one sticks out as a glimmer of light in one of the club’s darkest moments. When Roma were being ripped apart by Manchester United at Old Trafford in the 2006-07 Champions League quarter finals, it was only De Rossi who picked his head up, spurring his team on with a sublime flick for their only goal. There was nothing left to play for in the match at that point, but pride. Some may see him as the tragic hero who fell on his sword, but he was also a lifeline of the club for almost two decades.

CM: Paulo Roberto Falcao

He moved with music in his feet. The eighth king of Rome will very well be remembered as Roma’s best midfielder of all time. His technique was some of the greatest to have played the game, and he had just about every other quality one could ask for - and imagine - in a central midfielder. A sorcerer over the ball, his wish would command it through a flick-on, lob, reverse through ball, simple one-touch, and any other conceivable play to beat his opponent. Romulus and Remus would have been proud.

CM: Giuseppe Giannini

The author’s favourite player pre-Totti Roma. To watch Il Principe on the ball was to witness royalty. One of Roma’s - and Italy’s - classiest players of all time, Giannini commanded the ball with seemingly effortless skill. Making 318 appearances for the Giallorossi and scoring 49 goals, his creativity and composure as a trequartista was fundamental as he followed Falcao’s footsteps, becoming captain and wearing the prized No 10 shirt. Yet another born and raised Roma fan, he is remembered for his key goals, elegance in every manner of the word, and responsibility as a leader.

CF: Francesco Totti

To quantify Er Pupone is to try and value Michelangelo’s David. One can note his goals and assists, but really, that is missing the essence of the greatest one-club icon in world football. There are at least three major avenues one could discuss when approaching the topic of Totti: his rise to superstardom in 2001’s Scudetto success, battling back from a broken leg to dominate in the 2006 World Cup, or innovation to become a False 9 under Luciano Spalletti. Totti bleeds red and yellow, resisting calls from Real Madrid to play all 785 club games of his career for Roma. For a man who self-mockingly refers to his reputation for being a bit dim, he had the most extraordinary football brain. He could place the ball precisely where he wanted and often that was not where the opponents expected. There never was or will be another Totti.

CF: Roberto Pruzzo

Pruzzo spent a decade in the Capital, scoring 106 goals in 240 games and setting numerous records. He won three Capocannoniere titles in 1981, 82 and 86, won the Scudetto in 1983 and four editions of the Coppa Italia. His goals weren’t just about quantity, but also quality, as he was a man for the big occasion, whether it was securing the title against Genoa, a last-gasp overhead kick to hold Juventus in Turin or his crucial strikes in the European Cup semi-final and Final. Inevitably, Pruzzo was among the first 11 players inducted into Roma’s Hall of Fame.

Have your say...
Hello United States of Totti. Yes, I will come next season.
on the 19th June, 2020 at 9:14pm
How does 1 good season for Alisson make him Roma's greatest goalkeeper? How does Juan make it into this team? How does Kolarov even get a mention? Where is Conti?

This is utterly aweful, did you even research this? Even Googling "Roma's best ever players" would have given you better options.
on the 18th June, 2020 at 11:53am
Alisson over Tancredi and Juan over Nela/Losi is a crime lol.... No Conti either... Maybe let a Roma fan make this team.
on the 17th June, 2020 at 8:28pm
No Bruno Conti means No Greatest All-Time Roma XI. The man they called Marazico at the 1982 WC should not only be in Roma"s Greatest All time XI, but also in Italia's Greatest All-time XI
on the 17th June, 2020 at 12:55pm

I see the epl hype is in full drive here too.

He was at Roma for 2 years, and spent the entirety of one on the bench.
on the 17th June, 2020 at 6:09am
...And of course, RADJA Ninja NAINGGOLAN!!!

When he signed for Roma I was overjoyed. Couldn't wait for his debut --BEAST PLAYER on field!

Radja, if you read FI...
WE LOVE YOU & hope you come back SOON.
(Tottaly expecting someone naming themselves "Radja Nainggolan" & replying me...)
on the 16th June, 2020 at 9:19pm
Agree Dennis, well written.

...And, since no one mentioned the guy.., I'll "honorably mention"--

(He did play for "Royal" Madrid!)

Man had a great header. Roma was invincible with headers then. Almost every other corner was a header goal.

(...I also have soft spot for "Totti-inspired" Cassano & absolutely adored Mancini..!)
(--I'm imitating commentator on Lyon game. If you don't know what happened, check out Lyon-Roma 2006 ;) )
on the 16th June, 2020 at 8:59pm
I did not see anything of Tancredi and Bartolomei to make any kind of judgments on them. My team would definitely include Totti (their greatest ever player), Giannini ( I loved the Prince), Falcao (just a supreme all round footballer),Bruno Conti, DDR(1 of the most underrated Italians in my book), Cafu, Candela and Aldair ( at a stretch). I have a soft spot for Zeman and his madcap football while Spalletti's first coming was awesome. Just never will be a Capello fan.
on the 16th June, 2020 at 7:20pm
It's all about opinions but I do think that most agree that Bruno Conti was a strange omission. As for the goalkeeping position I don't care that De Sanctis and Antonioli spent more years than Alisson they have no biz being called the greatest for any club. I did like Juan and not getting the hate. Agree too that benatia was awesome at Roma. Interesting that Ancelotti and Cerezo have not got a mention. I also liked Balbo and Fonseca combo. Pizarro was underrated. Best version of Pjanic was here.
on the 16th June, 2020 at 7:09pm
Bruno Conti HAS to be on that team.
on the 16th June, 2020 at 5:55pm
There should be 2 teams, 2 criterias:

Greatest ROMA players
Greatest Roma PLAYERS

...Only Cafu, De Rossi, Falcao, Conti, Totti ...would be in BOTH teams.

The greatest ever defender for Roma was...

--My God, the year he had!
I'd pick Benatia 2013/14 over anyone!
on the 15th June, 2020 at 10:10pm
Guys, give it a rest...
Alisson's European career was kick-started by ROMA! Not Liverpool. He & Dzeko single handedly dragged the club to CL's SEMI FINAL!
He was loved PASSIONATELY here, therefore left a bigger mark than De Sanctis. Becker's "2 years" felt like 4!

They only sold him because he became one of TOP THREE KEEPERS IN THE WORLD!!!
Roma couldn't hold him back, hamper his growth.

Best Roma's 11 VS Best Inter's 11?
I want ALISSON on goal. (And Batistuta in attack.)
on the 15th June, 2020 at 9:42pm
Gunnar Nordahl should be included, although he has been in top form while playing for Milan.
on the 15th June, 2020 at 8:43pm
Alisson Becker is a super keeper. Awesome. But greatest Roma keeper? That's a joke. Tancredi, or even DeSanctis and Antonioli served the club better. Alisson may have more skills than those three, but a better ROMA keeper? He only started there for one year. Such a poor, poor decision that I question the author's true knowledge of the club.
on the 15th June, 2020 at 8:29pm
I'm happy Alisson & JUAN --My favourite Roma defender! -- are picked. (Samuel's physicality was great, but Juan had that Brazilian "Ginga" flair.)

Author probably only forgot about Conti...
I'm OK with Pruzzo as Bati should be left for Fiore.
on the 15th June, 2020 at 7:30pm
I wouldn't put Totti in to be fair. Easily the most overrated Italian footballer of all time, when you consider the wages, the lack of trophies, the indiscipline, the coaches he got sacked, the list goes on an on. Spitting, kicking players from behind, really he was the best thing ever to happen for Lazio fans as he is the main reason why Roma under achieved for so long
Couldn't even manage the Coppa Italia in 2013.
on the 15th June, 2020 at 7:05pm
What about Gustavo Bartelt and Fabio Junior?
Surely Roma wouldn't win 2001 Scudetto without these two??
on the 15th June, 2020 at 6:13pm
Il Romanista - Jackie Chiles should be in there.
on the 15th June, 2020 at 5:22pm
for me

cafu- juan - aldair - candela
de rossi- tomassi
conti- totti- giannini

as much as i like antonioli alisson is a better goalkeeper
riise, kolarov, carboni were decent options but not good enough
tomassi was consistently decent for over a decade at roma falcao was better admittedly
mancini was quality along with nakata not to mention salah
as for up front personally i never seen a better striker for roma than batistuta in the 25 years i have watched serie a
on the 15th June, 2020 at 5:17pm
Alisson ( Tancredi )

Cafu - Samuel - Aldair - Candela

De rossi - DiBa - Falcao

Conti - Pruzzo - Totti

** Pruzzo fo his 10 years service and goals... Batistuta for his name and contribution is such a short staying
on the 15th June, 2020 at 2:21pm
And Bruno Conti missing??
on the 15th June, 2020 at 2:14pm
Walter Samuel for Juan I'd say.
on the 15th June, 2020 at 2:13pm
@Mario Bozza Yes, Bruno Conti is a big miss here.
on the 15th June, 2020 at 12:31pm
Allison at GK?? Exceptional keeper... yes. BUT in terms of service and accomplishments you should have started Franco Tancredi... 11 years, 1 Scudetto, 4 Coppa Italia and appearance in Champions League Final.

No Bruno Conti??? That's just plain criminal.

Juan?? Really???

Outrageous, Egregious, Preposterous...
on the 15th June, 2020 at 11:41am
Giannini? He actually was a disappointment of a player if you actually SAW his career unfold. I agree with Mario, Conti not being on this team is utter blasphemy.

Giancarlo De Sisti was a better player than Gianinni who never lived up to his hype post 1988 and by the age of 30 was done.
on the 15th June, 2020 at 8:18am
How old are you? Kolarov would never be in an all-time Roma side. Sebino Nela, Losi or Kawasaki Rocca over even Candela arguably. This is a mess. What formation is this? 4411? With 4 CMs? Juan can never be over Walter Samuel. No Roma fan would put Juan in the all-time 11I. And anyone who makes an all time Roma without Bruno Conti is the equivalent to making an all time Man U without George Best. Makes the entire XI unrealistic and null. Do u know Trigoria is named after Fulvio Bernardini????
on the 15th June, 2020 at 3:57am

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