Giacomo Losi only ever scored two goals for Roma, but the circumstances of his first proved why he was one of the club’s best ever servants.
Only Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi have made more appearances for Roma than Losi, who was therefore the player with the most games for the club in the 20th Century.
One of Roma’s finest ever captains, he played for the club between 1955 and 1969. It was an impressive stint of longevity for his time.
Roma were the only club Losi played for in his professional career, in between shorter spells in the lower leagues. During those 14 years, he became the only captain to lift a European trophy for the club – the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup.
One of the things he is most fondly remembered for, though, was his goal in a game of smaller signficance, a few months before that trophy win. Losi wrote a special chapter in his story for the club in a game that would otherwise have likely been forgotten in 1961.
On January 8th that year, Roma were in action against Sampdoria. It was their second game of the calendar year and 14th of the season overall – and there was little to separate the two sides.
There was no score at half-time, but Roma soon took the lead after the break through Francisco Lojacono. Sampdoria hit back twice, though, and with 15 minutes to go, the Giallorossi were behind.
Pedro Manfredini made it 2-2 with 13 minutes remaining, but it was an uphill task for Roma to regain the lead.
By this stage, Losi was struggling with a groin injury he had felt the effects of since the first half. However, at the time, Serie A was yet to introduce the concept of substitutions.
It was a further complication for Roma. Midfielder Egidio Guarnacci had also had to go off due to injury in the first half.
As the hurt grew, it left Losi with a tough decision to make. He would have to go off and leave his team with two players less than their opponents, or grit his teeth and play through the pain.
Losi chose the latter.
He could have been just an extra body, making up numbers and marking space. Indeed, players had already moved out of position to cover in the most important territory, with striker Arne Selmosson dropping into defence, for example.
But instead, defender Losi went on to have an extraordinary impact on the closing stages of the game.
Three minutes after Manfredini had equalised for Roma, they won a corner. From that set piece, taken by Lojacono, the most amazing thing happened; the ball came to Losi and he scored.
A man of short frame, Losi was not usually a threat from set pieces. There was even less danger for Sampdoria when he could only use one leg. But he still managed to play through the pain and strike when they least expected it.
Closing his eyes, Losi put his suffering to one side for a moment and sent the ball into the net.
It was the winning goal, but it did not just determine the outcome of the match. It cemented Losi’s place in Roma folklore.
He could have abandoned his team, but Losi went above and beyond what was expected of him. He was there when Roma needed him most.
From that day on, Losi would become known as the Core de Roma – the Heart of Rome.
He had not even been born in the city, but it became clear that he represented the club as if it had always been his own. Losi was truly an adopted Roman.
To this day, Losi remains the reference point for any player from outside the capital hoping to impress the Roma faithful. He showed outstanding character to lead his team when the going got tough.
Giacomo Losi was the prime example of putting side before self. What he did that day, 60 years ago, still echoes in eternity for Roma.