Juventus
    Juventus
      04.10.2014 21:46 - in: Serie A S

      Giallorossi in the spotlight

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      Founded in 1927, Roma play their games at the Stadio Olimpico, are managed by Frenchman Rudi Garcia and have won three Serie A championships with the latest coming during the 2000/01 campaign

      Club

      Founded in 1927, Roma won their first ever Scudetto title in the 1941/42 season thanks to an 18-goal haul from local lad Amedeo Amadei.

      The 1950/51 Serie A campaign saw the Giallorossi succumb to their first and only relegation to Serie B, but they would bounce straight back up from Italy’s second tier the following year.

      Roma’s inaugural Coppa Italia victory came in 1964 after beating the Bianconeri’s rivals Torino 1-0 in a closely fought final. In total they have succeeded nine times in Italy’s cup competition with the most recent coming in 2007/08.

      With players such as Bruno Conti, Agostino Di Bartolomei, Roberto Pruzzo and Falcão at their disposal, the Giallorossi achieved their second Serie A title for the first time in 41 years in 1982/83. In the following campaign, they almost completed an historic treble after collecting a Coppa Italia title but finishing runners-up in both the league and European Cup final.

      Aside from winning their seventh Coppa Italia trophy in 1991, the rest of the 1990s were an unfruitful decade for Roma as they somewhat faltered with the continuing duopoly of Juventus and Milan who between them won every single title in the 10-year spell.

      Their last league triumph came during the 2001/01 Serie A season under the tutelage of ex-Bianconeri boss Fabio Capello.

      Stadium

      Roma currently share their home ground, the Stadio Olimpico, with inter-city rivals Lazio and have been playing there ever since the 1953/54 campaign.

      The venue is able to hold a capacity crowd of 72,698 and has hosted concerts from a whole range of artists including Eros Ramazzotti, Tina Turner, U2 and Bruce Springsteen.

      Renovated in 1990 for the FIFA World Cup held in Italy, it played host to five matches in which the national side took part, as well as the final between West Germany and Argentina.

      Juventus have good memories from playing at the Stadio Olimpico, after contesting the 1996 UEFA Champions League final with Ajax in Rome, which saw the Bianconeri prevail in a penalty shootout.

      The club is due to move from their current dwelling in 2016 to Stadio della Roma, a new 55,000-seater stadium in the Tor di Valle neighbourhood.

      Current team

      Captain and talisman Francesco Totti has been a “one club” man ever since he made his debut way back in 1992. The evergreen 38-year-old, who won the World Cup with Italy in 2006, has notched 235 league goals in over 500 appearances for the Giallorossi during a 22-year-spell. His strikes make him the second all-time highest goalscorer in Serie A history behind ex-Bianconeri forward Silvio Piola. In recent seasons, Totti has been deployed in more of a false-nine role rather than his conventional attacking midfielder position and recently became the oldest scorer in Champions League history when he netted Roma’s equaliser against Manchester City this week.

      Belgian international Radja Nainggolan is a tough tackling player at the heart of the Roma midfield. Having risen through the youth ranks at Germinal Beerschot in his home country, the 26-year-old moved to Italy in 2005 with Piacenza before excelling at Cagliari ahead of initially joining the Giallorossi on loan in January 2014. Nainggolan earned his first international cap for the Red Devils in May 2009 but was only on the standby list for this year’s World Cup held in Brazil.

      Playmaker Miralem Pjanic keeps things ticking behind the Giallorossi frontmen. A fully fledged Bosnian international, the 24-year-old made his name in France with both Metz and Lyon before joining Roma in August 2011. He is dangerous from dead-ball situations and is adept with both his dribbling and passing abilities. During his time in Italy’s capital, Pjanic has had a hand in 27 goals (either by scoring or assisting).

      Ivorian winger Gervinho enjoyed a great debut season with Roma last time out after a disappointing two-year spell in London with Premier League giants Arsenal. The 27-year-old, who was instrumental in Rudi Garcia’s Lille side that won a domestic double in 2011, joined the Gunners after scoring 36 times in 93 appearances. He was unable to stamp his mark with the English outfit and rejoined his old manager in Italy last year. Gervinho has been an ever-present with his national side ever since making his debut back in 2007 and also featured at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

      Having endured an injury-hampered couple of seasons since moving to Rome in 2012, 23-year-old Mattia Destro has been back among the goals in recent weeks for the Giallorossi. Having begun his career in Inter’s youth ranks, the young striker plied his trade with both Genoa and Siena before Zdenek Zeman acquired his services two years ago. The Bianconeri will have to be wary of Destro who has begun the campaign in stellar form after opening his account against Cagliari before netting a sensational 40 yard half volley against Hellas Verona last week. 

      Transfer activity

      In order to try and improve on their impressive second-placed finish last time out, Roma brought in a whole host of new faces over the summer to bolster their ranks for a title assault.

      Seasoned veteran Ashley Cole joined the club on a free transfer from Premier League side Chelsea in July 2013. The 33-year-old arrives at the Stadio Olimpico having won the league title both with Arsenal and the Blues as well as a Champions League triumph in 2012. Cole incidentally holds the record for most FA Cup winner’s medals, with seven which he achieved with both of London’s premier outfits.

      Centre back Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa has also arrived from England’s top flight on a one-year-loan deal. The Newcastle United-owned defender spent six-and-a-half seasons at Montpellier – where he won the Ligue 1 title – before joining the Magpies back in January 2013. The 25-year-old French international has made the move to Italy’s capital with a point to prove after enduring a somewhat difficult 18 months in the country’s North-East.

      Greek defender Kostas Manolas joins with the world firmly at his feet. The 23-year-old powerhouse was a pivotal figure for Olympiacos during their two consecutive league title triumphs before making a name for himself in his country’s last-16 run at the 2014 World Cup.

      Utility man Urby Emanuelson has arrived from Serie A rivals Milan on a free transfer after three-and-a-half years with the Rossoneri. The Dutch midfielder, who also had a loan spell at Fulham in 2013, can play in a whole host of positions including both defence and attack.

      Thirty-four year old Seydou Keita arrived in Italy with a glittering CV. Having plied his trade for Lens and Sevilla, the versatile midfielder then moved on to Barcelona in 2008 where he enjoyed a four-year spell by winning 14 titles in the process. Further stints at Chinese outfit Dalian Aerbin and a return to Spain with Valencia followed before the Malian joined up with Rudi Garcia earlier this summer.

      After fending off the Bianconeri for his signature, Roma signed Juan Iturbe after the 21-year-old impressed with Hellas Verona during their inaugural season back in Serie A. The diminutive forward possesses a great deal of pace and is able to beat his marker with his ease. He notched eight times in 33 outings for Hellas last time out and has already scored his first goal for the Giallorossi in the 5-1 Champions League victory over CSKA Moscow in September 2014.

      Going the other way, Michel Bastos has rejoined UAE outfit Al Ain after his loan spell expired whilst fellow left-back Dodo left for Serie A rivals Inter.

      Croatian youngster Tin Jedvaj will spend the 2014/15 campaign out on loan at Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen whilst stalwart Rodrigo Taddei dropped down a division to join Perugia after providing nine years of service for the Giallorossi during which he scored 31 times in 296 appearances. 

      Manager

      After a tough few years with Roma having gone through six managers in only four seasons, Frenchman Rudi Garcia was appointed at the helm in June 2013 with the aim of making the Giallorossi Italy’s premier side.

      Garcia, who has Spanish heritage through his father, retired from professional football at the age of 28 in 1992 after persistent back and knee injuries cut short a playing career in which he featured for Lille, Caen, Martigues and L’ASCE.

      1995 saw the Frenchman return to L’ASCE in a managing capacity for a three-year stint where he steered them away from relegation in his first year before enjoying a mid-table finish and a subsequent second-place finish in the following seasons.

      He took a three-year break from management to concentrate on his various roles  at Saint-Etienne first as a physiotherapist, then a scout before becoming assistant coach to both Robert Nouzaret and John Toshack.

      When Toshack moved on in 2001 to take over at Real Sociedad, Garcia was handed the reins with Les Verts in the midst of a relegation battle. Unable to guide them away from danger, the Frenchman was dismissed in the summer and returned to television punditry, a role he had previously enjoyed after retirement.

      After completing the Diplôme d'Entraineur Professionel de Football, the French equivalent of the professional coaching badges, Dijon came calling in the spring of 2002.

      Coupled with a Coupe de France semi-final run, Garcia led the club to Ligue 2 during the 2003/04 promotion campaign.

      After three seasons with the Eastern-France based outfit, he moved on to Le Mans in June 2007 before arriving at Lille a year later.

      It was to be with Les Dogues where Garcia established himself as one of Europe’s best young managers. Whilst giving playing time to future star Eden Hazard, the tactician guided Lille to a domestic double in 2011, winning the French manager of the year in the process.

      Two seasons and another French manager of the year accolade later, Garcia was appointed the Giallorossi’s latest in a long string of coaches in 2013.

      He began his tenure in Italy’s capital in style by winning his side’s first ten Serie A matches, a record previously held by the Bianconeri in the 2005/06 campaign (nine).

      The season would ultimately see Garcia’s Roma end in second place, 17 points behind eventual champions Juventus but with a newly-ignited rivalry having returned to the fore.

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