You’ve met the All-Stars, you’ve read some All-Star game history and if you follow my Twitter you’ve even seen the MLS’ Starts latest antics in a quite ridiculous attempt at a rap video. Now – it’s time to meet the opposition, AS Roma.
Roma are a club rich in history and full of tradition. The club was founded 86 years ago by Italo Foschi. Roma left the Stadio Nazionale in 1954, and the beautiful Stadio Olimpico has been their home ever since – although they do ground share with fierce Rome rivals, Lazio.
Despite their last league trophy success coming 12 years ago, Roma have lifted the Serie A title on three separate occasions. Despite the recent lack of silverware, Roma have spent an impressive 61 consecutive seasons in the top flight of Italian Football.
No club has lifted the Coppa Italia more times than Roma – winners of the trophy 9 times – although the old lady have matched their total. Whilst the old lady was busy lifting the league title last season, Roma suffered more silverware disappointment as they lost out in the Coppa Italia final once again.
The club are without a trophy since 2008, which was the last time Roma lifted the Coppa. Despite only 2 Coppa victories since the turn of 2000, Roma have competed in the 7 times in the last 10 seasons. Impressive.
Over the years, Rome has been the home of some considerable legends. The likes of Bruno Conti, Cafu and Aldair were amongst the names inducted in to Roma’s hall of fame last season, but the ‘i Giallorossi’ is still home to some current footballing legends.
Most notably – Francesco Totti. Totti will start and captain the AS Roma side this evening. Totti, born in Rome, is perhaps the rarest commodity of player in Football there has ever been. If there has ever been a more loyal player to his football club, I’d like to know, because I don’t think there is one?
By the time Steven Gerrard retires he may be considered in the some category, but at the age of 36 Totti has only ever played for one club – Roma. He’s a diehard Roma fan himself, and he’s played an impressive 535 games. What’s more impressive is that total of 227 goals that hasn’t dried up too much in his later age.
Alongside the Rome legend, tonight’s fans in attendance will get to witness part of one of the last (if not the last) seasons for two other footballing greats in their own country. I wouldn’t use the word ‘legend’, as I think it requires an unrivaled level of quality, such as Totti’s. However, Maicon and Burdisso have been great servants to their club and country over the years.
After a 60 game stint with his hometown club of Cruzeiro, Maicon’s talents were quickly recognised. A spell in French football with Monaco spring boarded his move to the Italian giants Inter Milan, where he played 176 games for the club. More impressive has been Maicon’s ever presence in the National side
Between 2001 and 2013, Maicon has made a combined 70 appearances for Brazil through the age groups, competing in two separate World Cups.
Burdisso, another player you perhaps wouldn’t consider a legend, has had a long standing career with the Argentinian National side that dates back to 2003. Burdissio will play his 100th game for Roma this season, after playing 93 games in a 5 year stint in Milan (for Inter). Burdisso was born in Cordoba and started his career with over 100 games for Argentinian giant’s Boca Juniors.
You shouldn’t also forget Italian International Marco Boriello and Italian rock Danielle De Rossi, who has played 90 games for Italy, 306 for Roma (another one club man!) and the world cup winner is certainly a football legend in my books.
The ‘legends’ are completed by a new, young and vibrant core to the AS Roma side. Enjoying a much more sustainable style of player under Rudi Garcia – as opposed to the quite frankly mental ways of the previous regime, which quite literally did not consider defending necessary – Roma posses talents such as Strootman, Lamela, Destro and Pjanic amongst others.
Perhaps the most exciting prospect for fans in Kansas will be the return to the US of Michael Bradley. The young midfielder is starting his second season with Roma, having made 30 starts last year. Bradley began his career with ‘Metrostars’, now know as New York Red Bulls. Bradley is a current US International who has played a key, key part in the USMNT qualifiers, and will hopefully return to an MLS pitch one day.
Travelling Roma squad: