Players who chose a squad number never used at Roma before

Since squad numbers were introduced to Serie A in 1995, Roma have been represented by players wearing a wide range of choices.

Some players become synonymous with their jerseys, most notably Francesco Totti with the 10, but also Aldair with the 6 and Daniele De Rossi with the 16.

Sometimes players can make unusual choices for their squad numbers. Here, not counting numbers assigned to academy players nor those that were already at the club but changed their allotted jersey, Giallorossi Yorkshire looks back at some players who took a new number that had never been worn by anyone else before when joining Roma.

99 – Mido

Before the turbulent 2004-05 season began, Roma welcomed Mido to the club after the striker’s spell with Marseille. Aged 21 at the time, but with promising spells at clubs like Gent, Ajax and Celta Vigo behind him, it was an intriguing investment.

Mido took the highest shirt number possible by becoming the first number 99 in Roma’s history. However, his spell in Serie A turned out to be disastrous; the Egypt international played eight times in the league and five times in cup competitions, but failed to ever score for Roma.

He was sent on loan to Tottenham Hotspur after just six months before being sold to Middlesbrough. Later, he would finish his career elsewhere in Yorkshire, making a solitary appearance for Barnsley.

The 99 jersey at Roma has since been worn by players such as Justin Kluivert and Mile Svilar.

90 – Romelu Lukaku

Romelu Lukaku is the type of striker that screams being a traditional number 9, but that number was taken upon his arrival at Roma by the player whose absence he would be helping to alleviate, Tammy Abraham.

Therefore, Lukaku repeated the same choice that he had made when re-joining Inter on loan from Chelsea the year before. Since the number nine was taken there by ex-Roma captain Edin Dzeko, Lukaku opted for 90.

He scored 14 goals in it for Inter, where he had been the number 9 during his first spell.

Indeed, Lukaku had worn a range of numbers in his career before, including 10 at Everton, which famously remains vacant at Roma after the retirement of Francesco Totti, but Lukaku opted for the arguably safer option for La Magica.

83 – Antonio Mirante

After first wearing the shirt number that represents the year of his birth with Crotone and then Siena earlier in his career, before having the 12 at Juventus, Antonio Mirante donned the 83 jersey again at every club he came to from 2007 onwards.

In 2018, Roma bought him from Bologna to be their new backup goalkeeper, but due to the poor form of new first-choice Robin Olsen, he ended the season as the starter.

Something similar threatened to happen when Olsen’s replacement, Pau Lopez, began to struggle too in the following campaign. Thus, by the end of a three-year spell, there were only three clubs Mirante had played more for than Roma.

82 – Urby Emanuelson

Signed on a free transfer in 2014 after leaving AC Milan, where he wore the number 28, Urby Emanuelson flipped the digits around when joining Roma.

His Milan number was already taken by Lukasz Skorupski in the capital, so he switched to a niche choice (which, unlike some other examples here, was nothing to do with when he was born). It was only ever seen on the pitch twice, though, as Emanuelson’s gametime was seriously limited at Roma.

He left after just half a year and in the future would endure a one-game spell with Sheffield Wednesday, among other commitments.

Academy player Matteo Falasca was assigned the 82 jersey in the 2022-23 season, but never made a first-team appearance in it.

80 – Ivan Pelizzoli

After Roma won the Scudetto in 2001, they invested in Ivan Pelizzoli to strengthen their goalkeeping department. The previous season’s number 1, Francesco Antonioli, stayed, though, which meant the new face could not take that jersey.

Pelizzoli picked number 80 instead, reflecting the year he was born in. He didn’t make too many appearances in it before changing to 22 for his next three seasons at Roma, in which his gametime increased.

In fact, he never wore 80 again at any of his future clubs. It was assigned to academy player Brian Silva for the 2022-23 season, but has never been seen in action for Roma since either.

77 – Marco Cassetti

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After having the number 77 on his back for Lecce, Marco Cassetti kept it for his new venture with Roma, which began in 2006.

Cassetti was born in 1977, which explained his choice.

For six seasons, the right-sided defender played his part for Roma, amassing almost 200 appearances before he left for Watford, where he took the number 27 instead.

Despite its unusual nature, Roma actually had a number 77 in the season immediately after Cassetti’s exit as well, as Panagiotis Tachtsidis inherited that shirt. More recently, Henrikh Mkhitaryan starred in it across a three-year spell.

69 – Angelino

When left-back Angelino joined Roma in January 2024, the number three shirt most commonly associated with players in his position – and that he had been wearing for Galatasaray in the first half of the season – had already been taken by the club’s other loan signing that month, Dean Huijsen.

Therefore, the Spaniard selected a number that had already graced his back during his spells at Manchester City and New York City, as well as featuring in his social media handles: 69.

No comment.

63 – Daniel Fuzato

Signed in the same summer as Olsen and Mirante, Daniel Fuzato was supposed to be a third choice goalkeeper who could eventually progress towards the number one role. He was assigned the 63 jersey upon his arrival in Italy, but only played once in it.

Fuzato started his third season with Roma out on loan with Gil Vicente, where he chose the same squad number, but when he was recalled, he changed to the number 87 – previously worn only by defenders Aleandro Rosi and Ervin Zukanovic – instead.

Despite finally achieving a handful of appearances, Fuzato was sold to Ibiza in 2022, after which he earned a 2023 move to Getafe, where he finally earned a number 1 jersey (despite being brought in as a backup).

32 – Vincent Candela

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Number 32 was the jersey in which Vincent Candela won the Scudetto with Roma in 2001, and it was the shirt he took when joining the club in the winter of 1997 from Guingamp.

However, after his first half a season, Candela changed to number 5, which had been the departing Jonas Thern’s when he originally joined. After a couple of years, though, the French defender went back to 32, which had not been touched in between.

Candela kept it for the rest of his career, except for a short spell with Bolton Wanderers, where he flipped it around to 23 instead.

The 32 would later be most notably worn by goalkeeper Doni, while it was also the first number Leandro Paredes had at Roma. But thanks to the memories of the Scudetto – not to mention the Supercoppa Italiana later that summer – it remains somewhat synonymous with Candela.

This article was originally published on 31st August, 2023, and has been updated since.

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