From the Spanish star of the 1960’s, Luis Del Sol, to the most important player in the club’s history, Francesco Totti, we take a look at the top ten players to be club captain for AS Roma aka Giallorossi as Totti is set to retire at the end of the 2016-17 season.
LUIS DEL SOL (1970-72)
One of the greatest Spanish players of 1960s, a midfielder blessed with great character, Del Sol was handed the armband as soon as he arrived in the Italian capital. He inherited the captaincy from fellow Spaniard Joaquim Peiro and in two years at the club made 50 appearances, scoring four goals – lifting the Anglo-Italian Cup in 1972 with a 3-1 victory over Blackpool.
FRANCO CORDOVA (1972-76)
Franco Cordova joined Roma in 1967 from Brescia. Nicknamed ‘Ciccio’, the Giallorossi fans quickly fell in love with Cordova for the ingenious way he played football. The talented midfielder lead Roma from 1972-73 until he left in 1976. Cordova played 212 times for Roma, scoring nine goals, and won the Coppa Italia in 1968-69 and the Anglo-Italian Cup in 1972.
SERGIO SANTARINI (1976-1980)
Blessed with sublime technical and physical ability, Sergio Santarini joined Roma in 1968 from Inter and stayed at the club for 13 seasons. Santarini won the Coppa Italia in his first season at the club and first pulled on the armband in 1976, keeping hold of the captaincy until 1980. He appeared 344 times total, for Giallorossi and scored five goals. Santarini won the Coppa Italia on three occasions and was also a part of the 1972 Anglo-Italian Cup-winning side.
AGOSTINO DI BARTOLOMEI (1980-84)
One of the most-loved captains in the history of Roma, Agostino Di Bartolomei marked himself out as a natural-born leader even when in the Primavera, with whom he won two national titles in the early 1970s. He possessed great charisma as a silent leader and unquestionable class. His ability to put the ball wherever he wanted, spectacular vision and a deadly shot made him a complete midfielder. Nils Liedholm promoted him to captain in 1980, a role which Di Bartolomei took on with great character and integrity. After winning the Coppa Italia in 1979-80, Di Bartolomei followed that up with two more Coppa Italia wins in 1980-81 and 1983-84, but most importantly returned the Scudetto back to the club after a 41-year wait in 1982-83. Agostino passed away prematurely in 1994, but will always have a special place among Giallorossi captains.
CARLO ANCELOTTI (1984-87)
Ancelotti joined the club in summer 1979 and immediately carved out a reputation. He went on to become the best central midfielders of his generation. Held back by knee injuries that kept him from playing for long stretches. He was nevertheless a fundamental part of the squad. Ancelotti was promoted to captain in 1984 after Di Bartolomei moved north to AC Milan. Carletto – as he was affectionately known by Roma supporters – played a starring role in the Scudetto triumph of 1982-83, and also lifted the Coppa Italia four times. He played 171 times for the club and scored 12 goals.
GIUSEPPE GIANNINI (1987-1996)
Blending class and poise, Giannini quickly earned the nickname Il Principe (‘The Prince’) among the Giallorossi faithful. He made his Serie A debut during the 1981-82 season. It was Paulo Roberto Falcao’s injury in 1984-85 that paved the way for Giuseppe to nail down his spot in the starting XI. ‘The Prince’ ruled the midfield and the captaincy soon followed, which he held until he said farewell in 1996. Giannini is one of Roma’s all-time greats. He proudly represented Roma in every one of his 318 appearances, scoring 49 goals.
AMEDEO CARBONI (1996-97)
Amedeo Carboni joined Roma during summer of 1990 from Sampdoria. He won the Coppa Italia in 1990-91 and also reached the UEFA Cup final that year – unfortunately losing to Inter. Carboni was a Giallorossi player for seven seasons, inheriting the captain’s armband in his final season at the club, 1996-97. In total, he made 186 appearances for Roma and scored on three occasions.
ABEL BALBO (1997-98)
A pedigree goalscorer, Abel Eduardo Balbo was Roma’s star signing in summer 1993 when Carlo Mazzone lured him from Udinese. The Argentine striker remained in the capital for five seasons until 1998. He also returned for two years later in a bit-part role at the end of his career. During his first spell at the club, Balbo regularly delighted the fans. He scored 78 times in 146 appearances. In 1997-98 – his final season before moving to Parma – he was entrusted with the captaincy. Balbo re-paid the faith by scoring a goal every two games: 14 in 28 appearances.
ALDAIR (September 1998 – October 1998)
One of the best defenders of his time, Aldair joined Roma during the summer of 1990. Possessing techniques to make even the best midfielders jealous and an extraordinary ability to read the game. He won the Coppa Italia in his first season at the club. A rock in Brazil’s World Cup-winning defence in USA 1994. Nicknamed ‘Pluto’ by fans because of his lanky frame, he led the Roma defence for 13 seasons, recording 330 appearances and 14 goals. Aldair was influential in the 2000-01 Scudetto win. A silent leader respected by everyone, Aldair was handed the captain’s armband towards the beginning of the 1998-99 season. However, Aldair decided to hand over the role after just a few games to the rising star of Italian and international football. It was Francesco Totti, who would go on to become the most decorated player for AS Roma ever.
FRANCESCO TOTTI (October 1998 – today)
The Roma captain par excellence, Francesco Totti is the most important player in the history of the club. Totti possessed talent, technique, genius and physical prowess, all summed up in one individual. A special player for Roma fans first and foremost but also for anyone who loves football. Francesco Totti received the armband in October 1998 and has pulled on the Roma shirt 751 times so far, scoring 300 goals in the process.
With 25 years of service to the club, Totti is by the far the most precious among the list. His passion and pride to play for the fans stands out from the rest of the modern day footballers.
He is known as the eight and the last King of Rome as they do not sense another Totti in the making.
Francessco Totti will play his last game on Sunday, 28th May against Geona as the fans prepare to bid the gladiator a remarkable farewell. Watch the video to visualize a stunning 25 year career at Roma, as it comes to a close.