On May 5th, 2002, three teams were still battling for the Scudetto with only 90 minutes to go. Inter, leading the ranks with 69 points, were due to play Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico. It was supposed to be an easy win for the Nerazzurri, in view of their long-lasting friendship with the Roman side. But Lazio’s midfielder Karel Poborsky had a different idea…
When Milan acquired 29-year-old George Weah from PSG in the summer of 1995, many commentators raised their eyebrows. “King George” would, however, prove them wrong and become an iconic player for the Milanese side, remembered for such exploits as the coast-to-coast goal he scored against Verona in the opening game of the 1996-97 season.
It doesn’t happen very often that Roma and Lazio can face each other with a title at stake. Lazio, however, can pride themselves on having beaten their bitter enemies in a Coppa Italia Final, thanks to a lone goal by Senad Lulic in the 71st minute. From that day, the expression “Lulic71” has become a sweet, obsessive mantra in the mind of any Biancoceleste fan.
Oh, those good old days when one could see Roberto Baggio and Diego Maradona facing each other in the Serie A. When the two used to meet, the game could never be an ordinary one: It was September 17, 1989, indeed, when a young Baggio took the luxury of scoring a sensational goal which clearly resembled Maradona’s Gol del Siglo at the World Cup 1986.
On February 4, 2004, Roma and Juventus squared off at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome, while sharing the second spot in the table, to decide who between them would be Carlo Ancelotti’s Milan’s main challenger for the rest of the season. Roma won 4-0, but the game is mostly remembered for Francesco Totti’s display of typical Italian hand gestures communication skills.
Lecce-Udinese was an iconic battle in the 2004-2005 campaign. The Salentini and the Friuliani faced each other four times that season, twice in Campionato and twice in Coppa Italia. The match of November 20th, 2004, in particular, lived up to the craziest show-time expectations, featuring 9 goals and a dramatic last-minute penalty saved by Udinese’s David Di Michele.
The first Japanese player to ever set foot in Serie A was Kazuyoshi “Kazu” Miura. Before Hideyoshi Nakata and Shunsuke Nakamura, before Takayuki Morimoto and Yuto Nagatomo, there was this little-known son of the Rising Sun who played for the Rossoblu side of Genoa in the 1994-95 season. Miura tallied 21 presences and 1 goal only – but oh, what a goal that was.
On September 1, 1991, Cagliari received title-holder Sampdoria at the Sant’ Elia Stadium in the opening match of Serie A 1991-92. The most representative player of the Rossoblu was Uruguayan midfielder Enzo Francescoli, who is still widely remembered in Sardinia for a magnificent goal that helped his side knock the Italian champions down.
If the Roma-Juventus feud characterized the first half of the ‘80s in Italian football, there is no doubt about Milan-Napoli being the most exciting duel towards the end of the decade. The match that set the beginning of this rivalry took place on January 3, 1988, when Ruud Gullit literally drove the Partenopei nuts and inflicted them their first seasonal defeat.
Before both supporter sides declared their 36-year-long gemellaggio officially broken, Genoa and Napoli fans had a long-lasting friendship. Their twinning had a fascinating history, deep-rooted in events where football merged with historical circumstances such as the aftermath of the 1973 tragic breakout of cholera in Napoli, which little had to do with sports.
There are many reasons why Francesco Totti has gained an unparalleled place of honor in the Roma supporters’ pantheon, as well as in any good calcio lover’s. The most simple is that perhaps he was just an awesomely talented football player, capable of scoring such unique goals as the one by which he stunned the Luigi Ferraris Stadium in a 2-4 win against Sampdoria.
A shocking first-minute opener by Inter’s beloved “Uncle” Giuseppe Bergomi, a penalty tap-in by Le Roi Michel Platini, after Walter Zenga had saved his first shot. The Derby d’Italia between Inter and Juventus played at the San Siro Stadium on November 24, 1985, was a showcase of talent and players who would go on to make history in their respective clubs.