Look at any club’s list of all-time top goalscorers, and it will be rare to find a defender near the top.
It’s no different for Roma, whose top 50 all-time scorers consists of just two defenders.
However, sometimes, players at the back have come up with crucial goals. Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa may have only scored once for the club, for example, but with it being a match-winning goal against arch-rivals Lazio to seal Champions League qualification, he became a minor Roma hero.
Kostas Manolas, too, scored the crucial goal that saw Roma eliminate Barcelona from the Champions League in 2018 – but didn’t quite get enough goals in other games to reach the top 10.
But which defenders have scored the most goals for Roma across their history? Here are the top 10.
10. Walter Samuel (12)
Part of the most recent Roma team to win Serie A, Walter Samuel was a vital signing in 2000, instantly adding strength to the backline.
He only scored one league goal in his debut season as Roma won the title, but added three in the UEFA Cup. His second season would be his most prolific, as he scored five times – more than he managed in any other year of his career.
Samuel only added a further three goals in his last two seasons before leaving for Real Madrid in 2004. He spent one year in Spain before returning to Italy with Inter Milan, who became the only other club for whom he reached double figures in terms of goals – albeit over a longer period.
9. Federico Fazio (12)Embed from Getty Images
Federico Fazio has been a threat from set pieces for Roma ever since he joined in 2016. Scoring four goals in his spectacular first season, Fazio went one further in the 2018-19 campaign, reaching five goals in a single year for the only time in his career.
Despite being relegated to a backup role under Paulo Fonseca this season, Fazio has still provided one goal in 2019-20, against Borussia Monchengladbach – although sadly, he scored an own goal in the same match.
8. Francesco Scaratti (12)
Born in Rome, Francesco Scaratti had been part of Roma’s academy until he reached adulthood in 1957, but never made a senior appearance for the club. However, in 1967, the opportunity arose for him to return to his hometown club.
A versatile player, a minority of Scaratti’s goals admittedly came when he was not playing as a defender, but they proved to be important. For example, one of his goals was in the 3-1 win over Blackpool to win the Anglo-Italian Cup in 1972.
7. Philippe Mexes (15)Embed from Getty Images
Philippe Mexes never scored more than three goals in a single season for Roma, but he also never went a year without finding the net.
Between 2004 and 2011, the centre-back recorded 15 goals – including the opener in the 2008 Coppa Italia final, in which Roma beat Inter Milan to win their most recent trophy.
After leaving Roma for Inter’s rivals AC Milan, Mexes continued to be something of a goal threat – once famously scoring an aerial volley from outside the box in a pre-season friendly in 2015.
6. Vincent Candela (16)
His forward thinking from full-back a pivotal part of Roma’s 2001 title success, Vincent Candela was different from many in his position by the fact that he played on the left-hand side, despite being right footed.
It is common for a winger to do that these days, but still unusual for a full-back – current Roma player Leonardo Spinazzola being one exception. The role allowed Candela to cut inside and create chances for himself.
Hence, he was able to open the scoring in the 2001 Supercoppa Italiana against Fiorentina – having scored three goals en route to winning the league that year – to set Roma on their way to a second trophy in three months.
5. Aleksandar Kolarov (18)
Occupying the left-back spot at present for Roma is a player who has made a career out of bursting forward down the flank. Aleksandar Kolarov has been an immovable object in the starting lineup since his arrival in 2017, and with his style of play, has naturally contributed a number of goals.
But his goals have not just come from open play. Kolarov has also proven himself to be a quality free kick taker – indeed, he opened his account for the club with a clever set piece struck under the wall against Atalanta – while he has also taken responsibility from the penalty spot on occasion as well.
With one more year left on his contract, Kolarov has every chance of climbing higher up this list. In fact, if he gets just four more goals, he will have scored more for Roma than any other club – having notched 21 in a seven-year spell for Manchester City.
4. Sebino Nela (19)
Left-footed but capable of playing anywhere across the defence, Sebino Nela was never a regular scorer for Roma, but his longevity at the club meant he would always get chances.
Nela scored two league goals in Roma’s title-winning campaign of 1982-83, in what was just his second year playing in the top flight.
After suffering a serious injury which ruled him out of most of the 1987-88 season, Nela failed to re-discover his eye for goal, contributing just four goals in the four-and-a-bit seasons that followed before his departure for Napoli.
3. Aldair (20)
One of Roma’s longest-serving players of all-time, Aldair arrived at the club in 1990, having just scored six goals in the prior season for Benfica. He never topped that tally in any of his 13 years in Serie A, but he came close on a couple of occasions, with four goals in 1992-93 – a campaign which included a brace against Galatasaray in the UEFA Cup – and five in 1997-98.
Aldair featured less frequently in the title-winning campaign of 2000-01, but it was in that year in which he became the first Roma defender ever to reach 20 goals for the club, in a UEFA Cup win over Hamburg.
With 436 appearances, no foreign player has represented the club more times than Aldair.
2. Alessandro Florenzi (28)
Technically, only 12 of Alessandro Florenzi’s goals for Roma have been scored in games in which he played as a defender, but he became more of a right-back than any other role in his final few years at the club.
Florenzi emerged from the academy in 2010 as a promising midfielder, but eventually completed a transition into being a full-back.
It was from that role that he scored arguably his most famous goal – the long-distance lob in the Champions League against Barcelona, which was nominated for the Puskas Award for Goal of the Year by FIFA in 2015.
Currently on loan at Valencia, it appears as though Florenzi will not get the chance to add to his 28 goals, despite starting this season as captain. Gianluca Petrachi has confirmed that the Rome-born player could be sold in the summer.
1. Christian Panucci (31)
Whether playing as a right-back or a centre-back, Christian Panucci always managed to find himself among the goals for Roma.
In fact, he managed to score more goals for the Giallorossi than for all the other clubs he played for combined.
Averaging around a goal every 10 matches, Panucci famously scored a brace in the first leg of the 2007 Coppa Italia final against Inter Milan, which Roma won 6-2.
That season had been his most prolific, as he had scored eight goals in all competitions. The only defender to ever score more than that in one year for Roma is Aleksandar Kolarov, who netted nine times in 2018-19.
Panucci was also just the fifth player to ever score for Roma in the modern era of the Champions League – and the second defender after Cafu.
Across eight years with Roma, Panucci established himself as a strong leader. His 31 goals place him as the club’s 40th highest scorer of all-time – above the likes of Paulo Roberto Falcao, Paulo Sergio and Daniel Fonseca.
And it will be hard for any defender to catch him at the top of this chart.Embed from Getty Images