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Veterans of four previous International Champions Cup tournaments, AS Roma, one of Italian soccer’s most historic clubs, return this summer in the hope of clinching their first title.
One of the most exciting sides to watch during last year’s tournament, with their three games producing 14 goals, the Giallorossi will be one of the star attractions this time around.
And, as the International Champions Cup prepares to welcome Roma back, we take a more detailed look at the club.
Roma are currently at an interesting point in their history. Firmly established in Serie A’s top six, the Romans are building for a bright future with a roster packed with young talent.
While Juventus sit on the throne for now, Roma are one of the clubs most well-equipped to overthrow the Bianconeri.
Boasting both some of the most experienced players in Serie A and some of the most exciting rising stars, Roma are ready to take the 2019 International Champions Cup by storm and prepare themselves for a big 2019/20 campaign.
Roma were founded in 1927 after the merger of three clubs from the city of Rome: Roman FC, SS Alba-Audace and Fortitudo-Pro Roma.
Their first title arrived in 1942 when they, under the management of Austrian coach Alfréd Schaffer, finished three points above Torino.
They had to wait 41 years before they lifted their second Scudetto but tasted success in the Coppa Italia four times in the interim period, while also clinching UEFA’s Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1961.
Further Coppa triumphs arrived in 1984 and 1986, capping the club’s most successful decade, much of which was under the tutelage of head coach Nils Liedholm, the Swede who had four separate spells in the dugout spanning nearly 30 years.
The 1980s were a great time for Roma, with legendary players such as Bruno Conti, Agostino Di Bartolomei, Roberto Pruzzo and Falcão the driving force behind the club’s success.
Roma’s last title came in 2001, finishing two points above Juventus. Buoyed by the management of Fabio Capello, the leadership of Francesco Totti and the goals of brilliant Argentine striker Gabriel Batistuta, Roma’s third Scudetto was their most satisfying, having knocked bitter rivals Lazio off their perch.
Still searching for a return to the Serie A summit, Roma have since added two more Coppa Italia crowns to their trophy cabinet, prevailing over Inter in back-to-back finals in 2007 and 2008.
Like the two Milanese clubs, Roma share the Stadio Olimpico with Lazio. It is a stadium rich in history, having hosted four European Cup finals and the 1990 FIFA World Cup final.
Boasting a capacity of 70,634, it is known for the athletics track which surrounds the soccer pitch.
Opened in 1937, the Olimpico has undergone several renovations and redesigns in the 80 or so years since, the most recent of which, in 2008, saw it being upgraded to a UEFA Elite Stadium.
As mentioned, it was the centrepiece for Italia ‘90, hosting the World Cup final as Germany beat Argentina to claim their third title. The most recent UEFA Champions League final held at the Olimpico was in 2009, with FC Barcelona beating holders Manchester United.
Coach – Claudio Ranieri
The mastermind behind Leicester City’s incredible Premier League title triumph in 2015/16, the Italian returned to the Eternal City in March to begin his second stint as Roma coach, succeeding Eusebio Di Francesco until the end of the season.
Ranieri’s improbable success with the Foxes saw him named LMA Manager of the Year and Premier League Manager of the Season, as well as landing the Enzo Bearzot Award, Gazzetta dello Sport’s Coach of the Year Award and being named BBC Sports Personality Coach of the Year.
The 67-year-old, who has also won honours in France, Spain and Italy, was previously coach of the Giallorossi between 2009 and 2011, almost denying José Mourinho’s Inter the Scudetto before they completed an unprecedented treble.
Stephan El Shaarawy – He no longer sports a mohawk but El Shaarawy still attracts as much attention as any of his team-mates. That’s down to the fact that he’s become one of Roma’s most important attackers since joining from AC Milan in 2016.
At the time of writing, the 26-year-old Italy international has already equalled his best goal return in the Italian capital.
A quick, dynamic and creative forward, El Shaarawy netted the opener in Roma’s thrilling 4-2 win over Barcelona at last year’s International Champions Cup.
Cengiz Ünder – The diminutive winger, one of the most exciting talents in Italian soccer, will be another star attraction in the Roma squad.
Still only 21, Ünder has become a fan favourite at the Stadio Olimpico thanks to his skill and turn of pace from wide areas. Don’t be surprised if the Turkish international unlocks a few defences at this year’s tournament.
Edin Džeko – The Bosnian forward is Roma’s line leader and talisman up front and has been since joining from Manchester City – with whom he won the 2014 Premier League title – in 2015.
There are few better targetmen than Džeko in world soccer and the 32-year-old has hit double figures in each of his five seasons in the Eternal City.
Ones to watch
Nicolò Zaniolo – If you were to watch Zaniolo strut around the field before looking up his age, you’d be left in a state of disbelief. Italian soccer’s ‘Golden Boy,’ Zaniolo has shot onto the scene since joining Roma from Inter last summer.
Already a first-team regular, the poise with which he conducts himself belies his 19 years. For example, Zaniolo was left utterly unfazed by his first taste of Champions League knockout soccer, scoring two excellent goals to down FC Porto 2-1.
An attacking midfielder with immeasurable promise, Roma fans are beginning to consider Zaniolo as the second coming of Totti.
Justin Kluivert – Speaking of Totti, Il Capitano was instrumental in bringing Justin Kluivert, one of the starlets of Dutch soccer, to Roma.
Totti phoned the young striker’s father, the legendary former Ajax and Barcelona frontman Patrick Kluivert, for a conversation that proved vital to securing his son’s signature
Kluivert made his Roma debut at the 2018 International Champions Cup. This time around, he’ll be looking to fire them to glory.