In profile: The Roma squad that won the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup in 1961

11th October marks the anniversary of Roma’s triumph in the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup, which remains to this day their only ever European trophy.

After drawing 2-2 with Birmingham City in the first leg, having taken a two-goal lead through a Pedro Manfredini brace, Roma won the return leg 2-0 at Stadio Olimpico to lift the trophy, as an own goal was followed up by Paolo Pestrin’s last-minute goal.

With Roma having lost in their only ever appearances in both the European Cup final – against Liverpool – and the UEFA Cup, against Inter over two legs in 1991, the heroes of the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup take up a special place in the club’s history. Despite the competition being held in lesser regard than the other two, the squad that achieved it for Roma managed to do something that none of their successors have done yet.

Here are the stories of the players who helped Roma reach European glory.

Route to the final:

The Fairs Cup journey lasted more than a whole year, with the final taking place a couple of months into the new league season. It all began on 4th October 1960, when Roma drew away at Union Saint-Gilloise, a team they dispatched in the second leg with a 4-1 win.

A replay was required for Roma to advance from their quarter-final clash with Koln, which ended 2-2 on aggregate. With the Giallorossi having home advantage for the replay, Manfredini’s double sent them on their way to another 4-1 victory.

Once again, two legs were not enough to separate Roma from their opponents in the semi-finals, where they faced Scottish side Hibernian. Drawing the away leg 2-2 courtesy of a Francisco Lojacono brace, the home leg finished 3-3 – with the away goals rule not in place. Hence, Roma took on Hibs for the third time, and now there was no doubt. Manfredini weighed in with a remarkable four-goal haul as part of a convincing 6-0 thumping in May 1961.

Hence, it was onto the next season for Roma to complete their European journey. Visiting Birmingham’s St Andrew’s stadium for the first leg, Roma took a draw back to the Olimpico. Around 55,000 spectators descended on the venue to see their side claim European glory with a 2-0 win, allowing Giacomo Losi to lift the trophy aloft.

First leg only:

Luigi Giuliano – The side that won the second leg featured two changes from the first leg, with Pestrin replacing Giuliano. Joining Roma from Torino in 1954 – having luckily only been a youth player there in 1949, thus not travelling on the flight which led to the Superga air disaster – Giuliano spent eight years in the capital. The midfielder made his only appearance for Italy in that time, making more than 140 appearances for Roma, where he ended his career.

Dino Da Costa – The other player to be involved in the first leg but not the second was attacker Da Costa, whose place was taken by Lojacono for the Olimpico clash. Returning from a loan at Fiorentina in the summer in between the two seasons over which the tournament took place, the Italian-Brazilian only stayed until November – but it was enough for him to play his small part in the Fairs Cup triumph, to crown his 163 appearances for the club.

Second leg lineup:

Fabio Cudicini – Father of former Chelsea goalkeeper Carlo Cudicini, Fabio is widely regarded as one of the greatest never-capped Italian goalkeepers of all-time. He spent the bulk of his career at Roma, having signed from Udinese in 1958. Just over a week away from his 26th birthday at the time of the Fairs Cup final, Cudicini was really starting to blossom into a reliable, experienced keeper. Following his departure from Roma in 1966, he spent a season at Brescia and five at Milan – with whom he won three more international trophies.

Alfio Fontana – Perhaps an underrated player in Roma history, Fontana brought a wealth of experience with him when he joined aged 28 in 1960. In his previous years at Milan, he had won three Scudetti, but an international honour had eluded him. It took him just a year to achieve that at Roma, for whom he eventually passed a century of appearances.

Giulio Corsini – After beginning his career with hometown club Atalanta, Corsini came to Roma in 1957. The defender surpassed the 130 games he had played for the Bergamo side by reaching nearly 150 in giallorosso. His final season with the club saw him add the Coppa Italia to his Fairs Cup medal.

Giacomo Losi – Until Francesco Totti, no player had played more games for Roma than Losi. The versatile and loyal player began in the heart of defence for the final, which came after the first of his nine seasons as captain. Hence, he remains the only player in history to have raised a European trophy as Roma captain. Sadly, he could never add a Serie A title to his medal cabinet, but finished his career with the commendable record of having never received a yellow or red card.

Losi being presented with the trophy after the match.

Paolo Pestrin – Left out of the first leg, Pestrin ensured he wrote his name into Roma folklore by finishing the game off in the return fixture. Another player who featured in more games for Roma than any of his other clubs, the central midfielder – who had initially been a winger in his early career – fell just short of reaching 200 appearances for the club before leaving for Padova, placing him at 42nd on the club’s all-time appearances chart (higher than the likes of Cafu, David Pizarro and Paulo Roberto Falcao).

Alberto Orlando – An attacking midfielder, Orlando was one of two Rome-born players in the lineup against Birmingham (the other being Giampaolo Menichelli). After graduating the club’s academy and earning his stripes on loan at Messina, he was recalled to the first team in 1959. He instantly became a mainstay of the lineup, with his time at Roma culminating in the 1964 Coppa Italia win in his last season.

Francisco Lojacono – Deemed the man of the match by most media outlets in Britain and Italy, Lojacono left his mark on a game that was at times played in a rough fashion. Having delayed his report to international duty to play in the match, the Argentine-Italian playmaker was unfazed by the physical nature of the battle, and it was his shot that deflected off Brian Farmer to give Roma the lead. Overall, his time with Roma lasted just three years, but he managed nearly a goal every other game – certainly good going for a midfielder.

Pedro Manfredini – Finishing the campaign as the Fairs Cup’s top scorer with 12 goals, having scored in every round, Manfredini’s place in the lineup for the decisive second leg was in doubt due to an injury concern. He battled back in time to assume his rightful place as the leading striker, having contributed two crucial goals in the first leg. Manfredini was not able to get on the scoresheet in Rome, but that will have mattered little to him when he got his hands on a winner’s medal. With 104 goals from 164 games, the Argentine – who sadly died in January – remains the highest-scoring foreigner in the club’s history.

Antonio Valentin Angelillo – The number 10 of Argentine compatriot Luis Carniglia’s side (although he represented Italy internationally), former Inter star Angelillo, like Carpanesi, joined up with the squad in the summer between the knockout rounds and the final. His four seasons with Roma rendered 150 appearances, 41 goals and two trophies, with the 1964 Coppa Italia being added to this European triumph.

Giampaolo Menichelli – A winger who went on to win Serie A and the Coppa Italia with Juventus, the only trophy Menichelli gained with Roma before leaving his hometown club was the Fairs Cup. It came after his first full season back at the club following two loan spells that were crucial for his development, at Sambenedettese and Parma. The year after winning the Fairs Cup, Menichelli became an Italy international, scoring his only goal for the Azzurri in 1962 – in the summer before he departed Rome.


Luis Carniglia – With Alfredo Foni having guided Roma to the final, Carniglia took over the reins before the start of the new campaign, in which the showpiece against Birmingham would be contested. Having spent most of his playing career in South America, he closed his days on the pitch in Europe with Nice and Toulon, before being appointed manager of the former. He came to Roma after spells with Real Madrid, Fiorentina and Bari – having won league titles in France and Spain. While he was not able to replicate that at Roma, the at-the-time 41-year-old completed the job that was started by Foni in clinching Fairs Cup honours. Despite coaching for nearly two whole decades after, it was the last trophy he won as a manager.

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