Roma’s most memorable managers

19 Dec 1999: Fabio Capello the Roma coach during the Italian Serie A match against Parma played at the Stadio Tardini in Parma, Italy. Parma won the game 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Claudio Villa /Allsport

Although us football fans always remember the names of the stars on the pitch, it’s the club managers that tend to give us a senses of nostalgia and various ups and downs we experienced during their tenure.

In other words, you won’t forget the player who scored the crucial goals but you’ll also remember the manager who guided the team to titles.

Like many clubs, Roma has been a club with several periods of highs and lows. The club was founded almost a century ago in 1927 and has been involved in the Italian Serie A for the entirety of its foundation except for one season (1951-1952).

Despite this extended period in Italy’s top flight, the Giallorossi have only captured three Serie A titles, which came under the management of Alfred Schaeffer, Nils Liedholm and Fabio Capello. Although their league title count is underwhelming, they have won nine Coppa Italia and two Super Coppa trophies.

Just recently though the club finally added one of the most elusive pieces of silverware to their trophy cabinet: a European title. The Giallorossi were crowned champions of the inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League after they defeated Feyenoord 1-0 in the final this past May, guided by Jose Mourinho.

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So given Roma’s limited trophy cabinet, let’s explore some of the memorable managers who guided the team to success, creating lasting memories for supporters.

Nils Liedholm

One of the most well known and successful managers to ever step foot at Roma, Nils Liedholm began his career as a player for Sleipner FC in 1942 and led the Swedish national team to the World Cup final in 1958. He was also a part of AC Milan’s legendary “Gre-No-Li” Swedish attacking trident alongside Gunnar Gren and Gunnar Nordahl.

Despite his retirement from football in 1961, he continued his impressive successes as a coach. He led Roma to the 1982/83 league title—a few years after he won the Scudetto as coach of AC Milan.

Liedholm captured three Coppa Italia trophies during his time in the capital and even guided the club to a European Cup (Champions League equivalent) final in 1984, losing out to Liverpool on penalties.

The Swede also left a permanent impression on football tactics, widely considered the Godfather of the popular zonal marking defensive philosophy.

Fabio Capello

A former Roma player, Fabio Capello was the last manager to lead the club to a league title, which came in 2001.

Capello spent five years in the Italian capital after he was originally appointed in 1999 after he was sacked by AC Milan during his second spell with the Rossoneri.

He revamped the Giallorossi and created a formidable team from top to bottom. His famed 3-4-1-2 formation featured a number of stars but is most fondly remembered for an attacking quartet that included Vincenzo Montella, Marco Delvecchio, Francesco Totti, and Gabriel Batistuta.

His refreshed tactical approached helped Roma secure a Scudetto and Super Coppa during his reign.

Jose Mourinho

Roma shocked the footballing world when they announced in May 2021 that they appointed Jose Mourinho to replace outgoing manager Paulo Fonseca.

The news came just weeks after the Special One split with Tottenham Hotspurs and marked Mourinho’s return to Serie A for the first time in over a decade.

Upon arrival, Mourinho insisted his approach at Roma would be different than what most expected: he wouldn’t demand immediate results and trophies, confessing the club’s project is focused on the long term.

However, it wouldn’t take long for the Portuguese technician to capture silverware with the club, ultimately snapping their nearly 15-year trophy drought after they defeat Feyenoord in the UEFA Europa Conference League final last May.

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