Saturday sees Roma take on Lazio in the hotly anticipated second Derby Della Capitale of the season.
It’s a game like no other, where time stands still and full commitment is needed from all players. It’s a game where a hero can emerge, sometimes out of nowhere, and be the man to lift his side to victory against their bitter rivals.
Over the years, it hasn’t taken long for some players to make their mark on the Derby. And what better way is there to endear yourself to your new fans by scoring the first time you face their enemies? Here are 10 players who did just that by scoring in their first Rome Derby appearance.
Rodolfo Volk (1929)
The legendary striker – one of only six players to have scored more than 100 goals for the club – wrote his name in eternal folklore by scoring the winning goal in the first match ever played between Roma and Lazio. The game, which took place at Lazio’s Stadio Rondinella, ended as a 1-0 win to Roma, thanks to Volk’s 78th-minute strike. The first ever Derby had been won by the red-and-yellow side of the city.
Fulvio Bernardini (1930)
One man who wasn’t involved that historic day was Fulvio Bernardini – although the iconic midfielder returned in time for the reverse fixture, in which he scored the Lupi’s first goal. Roma’s first ever home Derby, contested at Campo Testaccio, also ended in victory, this time by a 3-1 scoreline. Piero Pastore had put Lazio ahead, but Bernardini levelled things up to ensure Roma did the double over their opponents at the start of a historic rivalry.
Arne Selmosson (1958)
Swedish striker Selmosson was one of the few players brave enough to directly cross the city divide, joining Roma from Lazio in 1958. He quickly got his new fans on side though, by scoring less than 10 minutes into the first Derby of the season in November. At the time, he was the only player in history to have scored for either side in the Derby – an achievement which went unmatched until Aleksandar Kolarov’s goal for Roma against the Biancocelesti earlier this season.
Pedro Manfredini (1959)
Pedro Manfredini was a goal machine right from the beginning of his time with Roma. The Argentinian came to the club in 1959 and hit the ground running. When Roma hosted Lazio at the Stadio Olimpico in October that year, Manfredini opened the scoring just two minutes in – before adding a second 40 minutes later. He even went one better the next season, becoming one of just five players to ever score a hat-trick in the Derby in a 4-0 win.
Vincenzo Montella (1999)
The Italian forward always stepped up for the Derby – only three players have scored more in the fixture over the years than him – and it was no different in his first. After joining the club from Sampdoria in 1999, Montella scored a brace as Roma thumped Lazio 4-1 at the Olimpico. It was the first of eight Derby goals for L’Aeroplanino – four of which, of course, came in one match, in March 2002.
Roma left it late to beat Lazio in the first Derby of the 2003-04 season, but they did so in some style. Summer signing Amantino Mancini opened the scoring, and it was no ordinary finish. He found the net with an exquisite backheel as he latched onto Francesco Totti’s free kick. It remains one of the best goals ever scored in the Derby, and set the Giallorossi on their way to a sweet victory.
Julio Baptista (2008)
Once again, the bragging rights went to Roma in the season’s first Derby in 2008-09, and another new arrival was the difference. 50 minutes in, Julio Baptista rose to send the ball into the bottom corner with a deft header back across goal. The stadium erupted as the deadlock was broken, and Roma held on to clinch all three points.
Edin Dzeko (2015)
Edin Dzeko’s first season at Roma was a shadow of what he would go on to achieve with the club, as he struggled for form in front of goal. However, he did put the right foundations in place to become the Roma legend that he later would, by scoring in both Rome Derbies that season. His first goal was in the 2-0 win in the ‘home’ fixture, coming from the penalty spot 10 minutes in, before Gervinho wrapped up the victory.
Stephan El Shaarawy (2016)
In the reverse fixture the next April, Roma ran riot, outclassing their rivals in a 4-1 win. Stephan El Shaarawy had begun his life in Rome on fire, having sealed a January move to the capital. He continued his fine goalscoring run by giving his side the lead in the 15th minute, before Dzeko, Alessandro Florenzi and Diego Perotti (also playing in his first Derby) went on to round out the impressive triumph.
Lorenzo Pellegrini (2018)
After returning to his boyhood club in the summer of 2017, Lorenzo Pellegrini would have been looking forward to featuring in a Rome Derby. Unfortunately, he was an unused substitute in both clashes with Lazio that season. However, he finally got his chance in the seventh matchday of the present campaign, and he certainly took it. On the stroke of half-time, the midfielder opened the scoring in Roma’s favour with a cheeky backheel after finding a space beyond the goalkeeper. What a way to make your mark on the Derby Della Capitale.
Nicolo Zaniolo didn’t take part in that Derby, but has now established himself as a key part of the team. He’s quickly proving himself as a sharp shooter, so will he be able to bag his first Derby Della Capitale goal at the weekend? Or – as has often been the case in these games – will an unlikely hero emerge from elsewhere? Could Justin Kluivert rise from the shadows to put Lazio to the sword? Or perhaps a more defensive player, like Rick Karsdorp – if he is fit enough – might be the one to make a difference?
It could be anyone’s game, but looking at this list of players, the squad will need little inspiration as they once again look to take all the points from their greatest rivals.