Rivalries are the lifeblood of sports but it’s a little bit different when teams come from the same city. When talking about football in the city of Rome, there’s an obvious divide between its two principal teams, A.S. Roma and S.S. Lazio. Every time the two clubs are about to face each other, The Eternal City turns into a different beast altogether.
The Roma-Lazio Rivalry
The history of the rivalry between Roma and Lazio can be traced back to 1927 when the former became a product of three existing teams in the city. The merger was an effort to create a stronger club in Italy’s capital that could defeat the other teams in the country, but Lazio refused to join. As a result, Lazio, with its smaller fanbase was alienated from the rest of Rome. Tension between the two camps intensified and the Derby della Capitale was no longer just a football match between two teams— it was a battle over territory. This turf war was further amplified at the Stadio Olimpico, the home of both clubs. Plans for a new stadium for Roma have already been drawn up but they have yet to materialise. Until then, Roma will continue to share its home with Lazio.
If you are ever in Rome, and have the opportunity to see this world famous derby, don’t pass up the chance. The entire city is divided into two sets of colours: yellow and red for Roma and sky blue and white for Lazio fans. A feature on ESPN noted that Roman football is deeply rooted in politics and culture which is why fans tend to get carried away. It’s important to understand that it’s a display of passion for the game, for their home team, and for the rich history that lies behind it all.
An insight into the two clubs
Both clubs play in Italy’s Serie A, along with the country’s most popular teams. Roma have won three league championships while Lazio have won the Serie A twice.
Throughout their history Roma have only been relegated once to Serie B in the 1951-52 season, but they bounced back and have remained in the top flight ever since. Meanwhile, Lazio have also been a constant in the Serie A – their only blip when they experienced financial trouble in the 90s.
There have been many famous players, coaches, and managers who have succeeded in the capital. Even after retiring, former Italian captain Alessandro Nesta remains adored by Lazio fans. While he was team captain in 1997, Nesta scored the winning goal against Milan effectively winning them the 1998 Coppa Italia. He also led the team to their 1999 league championship, as well as the Supercoppa Italiana the same season.
For Roma, former captain Francesco Totti is the club’s record appearance holder and the most iconic player to have ever played for the Serie A side. In terms of famous managers, Claudio Ranieri was one of the most high-profile to sit in the Roma dugout. During the 2009-10 season, Roma won 24 league matches but still failed to win the Serie A title. Ranieri resigned from his position a year later. He would eventually move to England, and a similar situation arose with Leicester City. An article by Ladbrokes on Premier League managers details how Ranieri helped the team win the league championship but was unable to repeat the feat the next year and was eventually fired. While rumours of his return to Roma surfaced in the press last year, Di Francesco has remained as coach regardless of Roma’s indifferent performances in the league and cups.
Where to watch the game
The much-awaited derby between Roma and Lazio will be on March 3rd. Travel Mag notes that you can purchase tickets for the game on the club’s official websites or via StubHub or Viagogo. If you aren’t lucky enough to get a ticket for yourself, you can always enter a pub and watch it in an exhilarating atmosphere among the local fans. There were a few sports bars featured by DoTravel Mag, including Hopside, Four Green Fields, and Highlander’s. But be prepared; Roma and Lazio are currently 6th and 7th in league standings so it’s going to be one hell of a game.