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.
Marco Van Basten removing his shirt and throwing it to the ground. The Swan of Utrecht sent off by referee Rosario Lo Bello, together with teammates Frank Rijkaard and Alessandro Costacurta. The surreal images of Milan’s second “Fatal Verona” are stuck in any Rossonero’s mind, remembering him of when his club lost 1-2 to the Gialloblu to throw a Scudetto away.
Brazil-Italy is the Superclasico of the World Cup, the most traditional game in the major football competition. The Azzurri and the Selecao have crossed their paths many times in the history of the world tournament, always with much at stake. On July 17, 1994, Brazil prevailed over Italy in the first World Cup Final decided on penalties to conquer the long-yearned-for “Tetra.”
Alvaro Recoba’s first Serie A season perfectly summarized the future career of a player whose talent was equaled only by his indolence. El Chino tallied just three goals that year, but the one he scored to Empoli on January 25th, 1998 – a deadly left-foot lob from his midfield line (!) – instantly gained a spot into Inter’s hall of fame.
On this day, 30 years ago, the history of football changed. Arrigo Sacchi’s Milan trampled Steaua Bucuresti 4-0 with braces by Ruud Gullit and Marco Van Basten to conquer the European Cup 1988-89, the third in the history of the Rossoneri. The triumph in Barcelona marked the International legitimization of the Romagna-born coach’s football verbo.
The 2005-2006 season was the last for Zlatan Ibrahimovic with Juventus. Ibra had moved to the Bianconeri one year earlier, and even if his second season in Turin was far less impressive than the debut one, he still found the way to show dazzling glimpses of his talent – like the magic trick that helped Juventus trample Roma 4-1.
All is fair in love, war, and the Derby of Turin. In what became known as the derby of “Maspero’s hole,” not only did Torino midfielder Riccardo Maspero grab a late equaliser to set the score to 3-3, but he also prevented Juventus from snatching a late win by sabotaging the penalty kick spot and causing Marcelo Salas to miss his shot.
Records are set to be broken, even the oldest ones. In the last round of the 2015-16 Serie A season, Gonzalo Higuain of Napoli delivered a hat-trick to poor Frosinone to bring his seasonal tally to an astonishing 36 goals – one more than the legendary Gunnar Nordahl, setting a new Italian record for the most goals scored in a single season.
On November 11, 1995, Parma received Fabio Capello’s Milan, an invincible armada which had won three Scudetto in the previous four years. The Ducali’s starting goalkeeper was injured, but rather than resorting to his second in command, coach Nevio Scala decided to deploy an unknown 17-year-old boy. That’s how the legend of Gianluigi Buffon was born.
The last time Inter and Barcelona squared off at San Siro Stadium was on April 20th, 2010. It was the first leg of a Champions League Semi Final. Due to an ash cloud generated by an Icelandic volcano, the Blaugrana had to reach Milan via bus as most European flights were cancelled. The Nerazzurri won 3-1 and took one step further towards their fantastic “triplete.”
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…