With competition under way in Italian Serie A and the European Champions League, AS Roma have high expectations—and something to prove.
Rome finished second in Serie A last season, a respectable showing in one of the finest football leagues in the world.
Still, it was a distant second.
Inter Milan ran away with the title a year ago, but are unlikely to do so again. Competition will be fierce, and Rome will be encouraged by their strong start.
Last season's Champions League campaign, meanwhile, started like a fairytale for the club. They only got a berth because of the Calciopoli scandal that rocked Italian football in spring 2006—but proceeded to progress out of the Group Stage and upset Lyon of France in the Round of 16.
In the next round, unfortunately, the fairytale proved to be one only the Brothers Grimm could love.
After an impressive display at home against Manchester United, Rome got eaten in spectacularly gory fashion on the road—a 7-1 drubbing at Old Trafford.
It’s not a result anyone will soon forget.
Over the summer, the club lost indomitable Romanian centerback Christian Chivu, but compensated by acquiring Barcelona forward Giuly—who looks to be settling in after shanking some gift-wrapped chances in his debut.
Roma also solidified their defense with the acquisition of Juan from Bayer 04 Leverkeusen and Cicinho from Real Madrid. The skilled Brazilians join Doni, Mancini, and Taddei to give Roma an eye-catching mix of Italian finesse and Latin flair—adding up to a relentless, and relentlessly exciting, brand of football.
On the whole, the club seem to be coming together brilliantly, having begun the domestic season with a 3-0 record. The entire squad—and especially Captain Francesco Totti, last year’s Golden Boot winner—has shown a knack for finding the back of the net when needed.
Wednesday night’s Champions League tilt against Dynamo Kyiv was long on both offensive and defensive highlights. Kyiv was fortunate to have only surrendered two goals, as Roma hit two posts and was habitually threatening.
Indeed, there’s much to be optimistic about for fans of the club—but the real test will come on Champions League Matchday No. 2, when Roma must again face Manchester.
The club know, as does the whole footballing world, that success can only come after last season’s bad memories have been purged.