A history of Roma friendlies held in the UK

Roma have played against plenty of Premier League teams in pre-season friendlies over the years – as well as some Football League and Scottish sides – but with many being part of package tours in overseas markets, only a few have taken place actually on the British Isles.

In 2024, Roma are reportedly planning to spend some time in England towards the end of their preparations for Daniele De Rossi’s first full season in charge, using St. George’s Park as a base. It sets up the intriguing prospect of some friendlies against English teams.

Here, Giallorossi Yorkshire recaps the four pre-season friendlies Roma have played in England or Scotland before – two of which De Rossi played in himself – as well as one for Roma Women. You can also scroll to the end for a full list of Roma friendlies against English, Scottish or Welsh teams played in other parts of the world.

4th May 1970 – Leyton Orient 1-3 Roma

Attendance: 7619
Roma XI: De Min, Liguori, Bet, Salvori, Spinosi, Santarini, La Rosa, Cappellini, Landini, Capello, Franzot
Goals: La Rosa (19), Cappellini (43), La Rosa (55), Dyson (pen 89)

Throughout the 60s, Roma had come to the UK for games in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, European Cup Winners’ Cup and Anglo-Italian League Cup (the latter of which would be classed as a friendly by some, but the less said about losing 4-0 to Swindon Town at the County Ground, the better).

Their first visit for a bespoke friendly was in 1970, when they were the esteemed guests for a Leyton Orient side who were celebrating promotion from the Third Division.

Roma were already in the UK for the Anglo-Italian Cup and had played Middlesbrough a few days earlier. In between their next fixture in that competition, against West Brom, was a trip to Greater London.

A Roma side featuring familiar names such as Fabio Capello and Sergio Santarini saw through a 3-1 win. Midfielder Giacomo La Rosa scored a brace either side of a goal by attacker Renato Cappellini.

Interestingly, the hosts were captained by a player with the surname Mancini, but he wasn’t Italian.

Unsurprisingly, the two sides have never met since.

31st July 1997 – Celtic 1-0 Roma

Attendance: 43895
Roma XI: Konsel, Cafu, Aldair, Servidei, Candela, Di Biagio (Helguera 69), Scapolo (Tommasi 46), Di Francesco, Balbo, Delvecchio (Totti 46), Sergio (Gautieri 69)
Goals: Thom or Aldair (OG 31)

Roma’s first ever game on the British Isles was in Scotland against Hibernian in 1961, on their journey to winning the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. However, they would not return to Scotland for almost another four decades.

In the summer of 1997, one of the pre-season friendlies for new coach Zdenek Zeman was in Glasgow against Celtic. Recent signings like Cafu, Paulo Sergio, Eusebio Di Francesco and Michael Konsel were on display, though none of them were debutants.

Meanwhile, Enrico Annoni – who had just left Roma for Celtic – lined up for the visitors.

One account of the game in The Scotsman claimed Roma “sometimes seemed to be on holiday” and Zeman’s side, who just three days earlier had been playing in Austria, slipped to a 1-0 defeat. Accounts differ as to whether the goal was scored by Celtic’s Andreas Thom or if it was an own goal by Aldair.

4th August 2007 – West Ham 2-1 Roma

Attendance: 26425
Roma XI: Curci, Panucci, Mexes, Kuffour (Cassetti 46; Rosi 60), Tonetto, De Rossi (Barusso 77), Aquilani (Vucinic 70), Esposito (Brighi 55), Giuly (Pit 83), Taddei (Alvarez 77), Totti (Nonda 77)
Goals: Giuly (13), McCartney (64), Ashton (68)

Continuing the theme of Roma contesting friendlies against British teams they’ve never played competitively, August 2007 saw a trip to London to face West Ham at Upton Park.

Kick-off was delayed due to crowd congestion upon entry. When things got underway, Roma took the lead through recent signing Ludovic Giuly.

However, West Ham turned the game around in the second half, during which both teams made multiple personnel changes. Indeed, only four members of Luciano Spalletti’s starting lineup completed the full 90 minutes.

10th August 2008 – Tottenham 5-0 Roma

Attendance: 35841
Roma XI: Artur, Cassetti, Mexes (Loria 62), Juan (Andreolli 75), Riise (Panucci 46), Perrotta, Brighi (Esposito 50), De Rossi, Aquilani, Montella (Okaka 46), Vucinic (Alvarez 75)
Goals: Bentley (3) Bent (5) Bentley (45) Lennon (50) Bent (54)

In the summer of 2008, both Roma and Tottenham were emerging from a season in which they had each won a domestic trophy. For both clubs though, it would be the start of a long drought of silverware.

Coincidentally, their paths crossed that year as Roma visited White Hart Lane. It turned out to be a rather disastrous display by Spalletti’s side, who were sunk by braces by David Bentley and Darren Bent, plus a goal by Leeds-born winger Aaron Lennon. Furthermore, Alberto Aquilani was sent off late for two bookable offences, even though it was a friendly.

3rd September 2023 – Chelsea Women 3-2 Roma Women

Roma XI: Ceasar (Korpela 46), Bartoli (Aigbogun 46), Linari, Minami (Valdezate 83), Di Guglielmo, Feiersinger (Greggi 46), Kumagai, Giugliano (Kramzar 66), Glionna (Viens 46), Giacinti (Latorre 66), Haavi (Serturini 77)
Goals: Haavi (7) Reiten (25) Giacinti (30) James (37) Beever-Jones (90+3)

After winning their first Scudetto in 2022-23, Roma Women tested themselves against one of Europe’s best when visiting Kingsmeadow to face Emma Hayes’ Chelsea in September 2023.

Admittedly, Chelsea’s season was scheduled to start a couple of weeks after Roma’s, so the two sides were at different stages of their preparation, but the high quality of the opposition made this a major benchmark for the Giallorosse’s progress.

In a thoroughly encouraging sign they could sustain their success, Roma twice took the lead, but eventually lost to a stoppage-time goal.

As it was, a tough draw in the Champions League group stage meant Roma’s experience against the English elite couldn’t be carried into the season, but Alessandro Spugna’s side had proven their level and went on to retain their Scudetto (just as Chelsea backed up their WSL trophy) and add the Coppa Italia to make it a double.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE: Every competitive game Roma have ever played in the UK

Roma friendlies against British teams held in other locations:

4th June 1953 – Roma 4-2 Charlton (Rome)
24th May 1960 – Roma 3-2 Chelsea (Rome)
1st June 1963 – Roma 2-3 Manchester United (Rome)
5th June 1963 – Roma 2-1 Leeds United (Rome)
10th May 1964 – Roma 4-1 Cardiff City (Rome)
30th April 1969 – Roma 2-0 Charlton (Rome)
23rd May 1979 – Roma 2-2 Manchester City (Rome)
26th May 1980 – Manchester City 3-2 Roma (USA)
15th November 1981 – Roma 4-1 Brighton (Rome)
11th August 1984 – Roma 2-1 Manchester United (Spain)
1st August 2001 – Roma 1-0 Arsenal (Austria)
1st August 2002 – Roma 1-2 Arsenal (Austria)
26th July 2003 – Roma 2-1 Fulham (Austria)
20th July 2004 – Roma 1-4 Rangers (Austria)
22nd July 2004 – Roma 2-0 Stoke City (Austria)
29th July 2004 – Roma 0-3 Chelsea (USA)
31st July 2004 – Celtic 0-1 Roma (USA)
3rd August 2004 – Roma 1-2 Liverpool (USA)
16th July 2009 – Roma 2-2 Blackburn Rovers (5-4 to Roma on penalties) (Italy)
25th July 2012 – Roma 2-1 Liverpool (USA)
10th August 2013 – Roma 1-2 Chelsea (USA)
23rd July 2014 – Liverpool 0-1 Roma (USA)
26th July 2014 – Manchester United 3-2 Roma (USA)
21st July 2015 – Roma 2-2 Manchester City (7-6 to Man City on penalties) (Australia)
1st August 2016 – Liverpool 1-2 Roma (USA)
25th July 2017 – Tottenham 2-3 Roma (USA)
25th July 2018 – Roma 1-4 Tottenham (USA)
13th July 2022 – Roma 2-0 Sunderland (Portugal)
30th July 2022 – Tottenham 0-1 Roma (Israel)

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