Part of Great Sides of Football Manager Series
We finally did it! Roma has won its 3rd Serie A title after a long 20 year drought. The fairy-tale run we had in my 2nd season, solidified my belief in Roma as the most fun club to play on FM. Luckily the club’s talented core remained unchanged in real life. So it should be another great year with AS Roma in FM20. Here are some of the reason why I love my FM19 Roma save so much, and will probably start another one in FM20.
Be first to bring back the glory
As they say, when it rains it pours! And that is exactly what happened in my Roma save, in my 2nd season with the club. It poured, in a good way. We did not only win the Serie A title, but also won the Europa League. While not as prestigious as the Champions League, it is still an impressive achievement for a club that has not had any national silverware since 2001 nor European one since 1961.
Heated and interesting rivalries – Lazio
Roma has amassed many rivals, both domestic and international, over its 92 years in existence. Being in Italy’s capital, of course has led them to butt heads against the other Roman club, Lazio. Both club’s fans try to claim monopoly over the title of the “true” representative of the Eternal City.
According to Lazio supporters, their club has more legitimacy, being older. In 2020 it will be 120 years since Lazio’s founding. Interestingly, Lazio had a chance to join Roma at its founding. When AS Roma first formed in 1927, it was done through a merger of three local clubs. Lazio was very much interested in being part of this larger enterprise but was refused. At the time it was seen that Lazio was not representative of the city of Rome as much as it was the club of the larger region of Lazio. The anger between the rival supporters has not cooled down since then.
The derby rivalry is very intense one and has been with Roma virtually since its birth. It’s assured that every game against your city rival is bound to be an exciting, tight affair, on and off the field. Do you play it up in the pre-game conferences, heaping extra pressure on the rival manager? Or do you try to play down the war of words, making them complacent and over-confident in their approach? In the game, all these are important factors to consider. Very important games are often decided even before you get on the field, if you play the game of words right.
Rivalries Continued – The Hated Reds
Against Napoli, Roma also compete in the Derby del Sole (Derby of the Sun). Also fans consider other Serie A giants like Juventus, AC Milan and Inter Milan among their rivals. Especially since these four compete for the top four spots in the league table to secure a spot in the UEFA Champions League. But one of Roma’s most unlikely and passionate rivalries is with a club that does not even play in the same league as them, much less in the same country.
International rivalries are rare in football but when they do happen there is usually a lot of sparks that fly. For Roma and Liverpool it has been like that every time. It started on May 30 1984, with Roma’s fateful loss in the Champions League Final against the Reds. The Giallorossi fans were so sure of their club’s triumph that they started celebrating in the streets of Rome even before the starting whistle. The party ended early when Roma lost on penalties in its own Stadio Olimpico. Since then the two sides met twice more in 2002 and 2018. Both times Romans lost on aggregate, failing to advance further. Many Roma fans still blame the English club for extinguishing their European dream, not once but thrice. Now in Football Manager, Liverpool has become a dominant European side again, meaning that the encounters between the two rivals are even more likely.
Team full of Wonderkids and Veterans
There is a lot of future potential in Roma’s midfield. As you can see below, already by the end of the second season, this potential is starting to pay back in dividends. This is especially evident if you use a formation that favours playing through the middle such as 4-2-3-1. If you like to follow exciting wonderkids as they become global superstars then you cannot go wrong with a Roma save. They are going to get even better in FM20. Especially if current media praise is any indication. You cannot go wrong by giving more game time to Zaniolo, Under and Riccardi.
Nicolo Zaniolo – 20 y.o in FM20
Cengiz Under – 22 y.o in FM20
Lorenzo Pellegrini – 23 y.o in FM20
Alessio Riccardi – 19 y.o in FM20
As they say, you cannot win anything with kids. Fortunately nothing is that black and white in Football Manager. Anything is possible in the game. But it probably is true that you cannot craft a successful, trophy-winning club without mixing in some veteran experience. And Roma is also rich in this aspect. After “Gladiator” De Rossi left, these two “oldsters” are my favorites.
Alessandro Florenzi – 29 y.o in FM20
Edin Dzeko – 34 y.o in FM20
Speaking of Daniele De Rossi. I believe in fairy-tale endings. In my save I let him play one more season in 2020, to have him end his career in Rome. I will always miss this player in any future iteration of Football Manager. Like no other before him, he embodied hard work, technical finesse and physical prowess. A true complete package. His exceptional sense of positioning and anticipation will be greatly missed. Also none of my current players have the same levels of leadership, bravery and determination. Although I envision Zaniolo as the natural successor to De Rossi, he is still a few years away from reaching his full potential.
One of the things that always keeps my FM saves exciting and fresh is having some concrete goals to work towards. Nothing motivates me more than trying to break records. And at Roma there are some hefty records to be broken that might take more than a season or two. For once, it will take some time even for the most dedicated managers to break the records set by the club legend Francesco Totti. Can your player do better that Totti? You could make it the singular long-term goal of any Roma save. In “Better than Totti” challenge you will need a very special player indeed to break the 786 appearances and 307 all-time goals records.
Right now I believe Nicolo Zaniolo is that player. I am planning to have him on my team for a very long time. It helps that he is a natural attacking midfielder that can fill my shadow striker slot right now. As he gets older and slower I expect him to fit right in as a more defensive midfielder due to his good positioning and tackling. Very much as was the case with De Rossi.
Roma’s Wonderkid Conveyor Belt
Since taking over the club two seasons ago, I saw at least one generational talent produced in each year’s youth intake crop. It is not surprising as Roma has always been know for producing elite home-grown talent. Recent Players such as Totti, De Rossi, Florenzi, and Lorenzo Pellegrini, all came through the Giallorossi academy. Additionally, all of them were born in Rome. Roma’s reputation for nurturing youth has been merited; after only two intakes, I have three absolute wonderkids at my disposal. All three, defender Emmanuello, wingback Margutta and shadow striker/possible future fantasista Zikos, are on the cusp of breaking into the first team as early as next season. My next challenge? Form a First Team with not only Academy Graduates but also exclusively players born in Rome.
Furthermore, Angelos Zikos already has the makings of a world-class talent. He happens to be a Greek with top German football school pedigree who is now well on his away to becoming naturalized into Italian way of football. What can be a better recipe for a footballing virtuoso. Perhaps he can be my new Totti? And if he does not reach that high, he will definitely sell a lot of shirts abroad.
Ever-elusive Champions League
Another challenge that makes Roma a fun and interesting club to play is chasing the Champions League dream. It is criminally unfair that a club like Roma has not won a single Champions League title in all of its 92 year history. On the one occasion that it did come close to international glory, also became a day of embarrassment for Roma fans (thanks to the Reds). Winning the Champions League is no small feat in Football Manager, even if you are managing a top tier side in a top 5 league. It is a kind of challenging goal that can keep a save interesting even when the version of FM you are playing is no longer so new.
So now you can see why I chose Roma as my top, most fun club to play on FM19. I expect this will remain so when Football Manager 2020 rolls out too. Whether you like tense rivalries, beating challenging records, bringing unprecedented glory to your favourite club, or just developing a squad full of home-grown wonderkids, AS Roma is the club for you. And if my tale of Running with the Wolves interests you, then check out more similar articles below and follow us @ Dictate The Game’s Facebook and Dictate The Game’s Twitter