Previous
Juventus
Malmo FF
2
0
FT
Game Details
Olympiakos
Atletico Madrid
3
2
FT
Game Details
Liverpool
Ludogorets Razgrad
2
1
FT
Game Details
Real Madrid
FC Basel
5
1
FT
Game Details
AS Monaco
Bayer Leverkusen
1
0
FT
Game Details
Benfica
Zenit St Petersburg
0
2
FT
Game Details
Borussia Dortmund
Arsenal
2
0
FT
Game Details
Galatasaray
Anderlecht
1
1
FT
Game Details
AFC Bournemouth
Leeds United
1
3
FT
Game Details
Birmingham City
Sheffield Wednesday
0
2
FT
Game Details
Blackpool
Watford
0
1
FT
Game Details
Brentford
Norwich City
0
3
FT
Game Details
Cardiff City
Middlesbrough
0
1
FT
Game Details
Charlton Athletic
Wolverhampton Wanderers
1
1
FT
Game Details
Huddersfield Town
Wigan Athletic
0
0
FT
Game Details
Ipswich Town
Brighton & Hove Albion
2
0
FT
Game Details
Bolton Wanderers
Rotherham United
3
2
FT
Game Details
Reading
Millwall
3
2
FT
Game Details
Colchester United
Sheffield United
2
3
FT
Game Details
Doncaster Rovers
Crawley Town
0
0
FT
Game Details
Gillingham
Peterborough United
2
1
FT
Game Details
Milton Keynes Dons
Bradford City
1
2
FT
Game Details
Notts County
Leyton Orient
1
1
FT
Game Details
Port Vale
Bristol City
0
3
FT
Game Details
Preston North End
Chesterfield
3
3
FT
Game Details
Rochdale
Walsall
4
0
FT
Game Details
Scunthorpe United
Coventry City
2
1
FT
Game Details
Swindon Town
Oldham Athletic
2
2
FT
Game Details
Yeovil Town
Crewe Alexandra
1
1
FT
Game Details
AFC Wimbledon
Burton Albion
3
0
FT
Game Details
Bury
Stevenage
2
1
FT
Game Details
Cambridge United
Exeter City
1
2
FT
Game Details
Cheltenham Town
Southend United
0
1
FT
Game Details
Mansfield Town
Morecambe
1
0
FT
Game Details
Northampton Town
Hartlepool United
5
1
FT
Game Details
Oxford United
Accrington Stanley
3
1
FT
Game Details
Plymouth Argyle
Wycombe Wanderers
0
1
FT
Game Details
Portsmouth
Dagenham & Redbridge
3
0
FT
Game Details
Shrewsbury Town
Carlisle United
1
0
FT
Game Details
Tranmere Rovers
Newport County
0
0
FT
Game Details
York City
Luton Town
0
0
FT
Game Details
Aldershot Town
Braintree Town
1
3
FT
Game Details
Alfreton Town
AFC Telford United
3
2
FT
Game Details
Bristol Rovers
Nuneaton Town
3
1
FT
Game Details
Chester City
Southport
2
0
FT
Game Details
Dartford
Dover
2
1
FT
Game Details
Eastleigh
Forest Green Rovers
2
2
FT
Game Details
Halifax
Grimsby Town
1
1
FT
Game Details
Kidderminster Harriers
Altrincham
4
0
FT
Game Details
Macclesfield Town
Gateshead
1
1
FT
Game Details
Torquay United
Woking
1
0
FT
Game Details
Welling
Lincoln City
2
0
FT
Game Details
Barnet
Wrexham
0
1
FT
Game Details
Rangers
Inverness Caledonian Thistle
1
0
FT
Game Details
Waterhouse
DC United
0
1
LIVE 49'
Game Details
Cruz Azul
Chorrillo FC
2
0
LIVE 53'
Game Details
Portland Timbers
Olimpia
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Independiente Terán
Cerro Porteño
1
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Estudiantes La Plata
Gimnasia La Plata
1
0
FT
Leg 2Aggregate: 1 - 0
Game Details
Deportivo Capiatá
Caracas F.C.
1
0
LIVE 45'
Leg 1
Game Details
Peñarol
Deportivo Cali
0
0
LIVE 45' +1'
Leg 1
Game Details
Guadalajara
Tijuana
1
0
LIVE 57'
Game Details
Mérida
Atlante
0
0
LIVE 48'
Game Details
Puebla
Morelia
2
1
LIVE 53'
Game Details
Celaya
Necaxa
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Coras Tepic
Zacatepec
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Dorados de Sinaloa
Mineros de Zacatecas
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Monterrey
Santos
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
Toluca
UNAM
2:00 AM GMT
Game Details
América Mineiro
Bragantino
0
2
FT
Game Details
Avaí
Sampaio Correa-MA
3
2
FT
Game Details
Goianiense
América RN
2
0
FT
Game Details
Náutico
Joinville
1
2
FT
Game Details
Paraná Clube
Ceará
0
0
FT
Game Details
Portuguesa de Desportos
Boa MG
1
1
FT
Game Details
ABC
AA Ponte Preta
0
0
LIVE 29'
Game Details
Icasa
Vila Nova-GO
0
0
LIVE 17'
Game Details
Luverdense
Santa Cruz FC
0
1
LIVE 14'
Game Details
Oeste
CR Vasco da Gama
1
0
LIVE 19'
Game Details
Al Hilal
Al-Ain
3
0
FT
Leg 1
Game Details
Bidvest Wits
Amazulu
Postp
Game Details
Kaizer Chiefs
Maritzburg Utd
Postp
Game Details
Next
 Posted by ESPN Staff
Dec 21, 2002

When in Rome...

Live on prejudices, die on them. Set the wrong impression, and you will forever share a room with it.

Italian football is no different from any other aspect of life. You'll find a good assortment of cliches wherever you look, frequently mixed in with just about the right amount of blind bias which adds more spice to proceedings.

One of the most curious aspects of Italian soccer - although not unique to Italy - is the obsession of some sets of fans to establish themselves as the only and true ambassadors of a particular city.

The decades-long diatribe in Milan between AC and Internazionale, as to which one truly represents the essence of the place, has never been resolved and never will be.

It can be a geographical distinction, which does not hold true in the First City, or a social one, which brings us to the capital, Rome, and its long running rivalry between Roma and Lazio.

One would think that a city so passionate about soccer and with such an history of huge crowds would have achieved a little more than five Scudettos combined in nearly a hundred years of Serie A (or its previous incarnations).

But the capital's teams have frequently been an afterthought in Italian soccer, which has been dominated by the Northern teams who have often looked at the Romans and their perceived stature with a raised eyebrow.

The emergence of Roma and Lazio as forces in recent years has added interest to the whole matter and brought about a competitiveness which hadn't always been the norm, but has also opened up the intricacies of their intra-city rivalry to everyone else.

And quite a rivalry it is: all over the world, big (and small) cities graced with a couple of top class clubs have witnessed the rise of the same diatribes and controversies, and if you take out the religious humus of the Celtic-Rangers rivalry, you can see a pattern underneath all those feuds.

One club will claim they are the 'real' ambassadors of the city while the other will make the same claim and the controversy will go on forever as, obviously, no one can have the final word.

The same happens in Rome, and its consequences have now been fully understood all over Italy: Roma fans claim they are the 'real' Romans. They dismiss Lazio fans as country bumpkins who just happened to one day wander into the Stadio Olimpico, and who as soon as the game's over sod (literally) off to their provincial towns and tractors.

After all, 'Roma' is also the name of the city, and 'Lazio' is the name of the administrative region, so it's only natural that Lazio fans are scattered all over the less civilized parts of the area and only congregate for the game.

Except, it isn't true. Or, at least, not as true and clean-cut as many Roma fans would have you believe. Lazio do enjoy a smaller following in the capital city than their rivals, and they have more trouble putting bums on the Stadio Olimpico seats than their counterparts.

This was witnessed during their 2000 championship season when they rarely filled the place even in the run-up to the deciding game.

Surely, they could not have gathered a 900,000 crowd at the ancient site in central Rome as their rivals did during the unforgettable celebrations right after the 2001 Scudetto.

That evening made the headlines for the appearance of local actress and icon Sabrina Ferilli who'd promised she would strip naked if the giallorossi ever won Serie A, and kept the promise only to a point by shedding most of her clothes but keeping a tiny bikini on.

So, Lazio have fewer fans, but Roma fans have been so eager to push the envelope on this subject, and on the fact that they believe Lazio fans are 'burini' (local words for un-educated country people), that this has frankly become an annoying cliche.

Francesco Totti
Totti: The butt of many jokes
(Buzzi/Empics)

Most of the mickey-taking is made in jest, as done by a Roma fan who goes by the assumed name of Galopeira and has been re-writing the lyrics of popular songs, adapting them to the rivalry and sniping at Lazio in a humorous way.

Galopeira once left in the middle of a Roma game, saying the tricks and flicks Francesco Totti had done up to that point were already worth more than he'd paid for his ticket and he did not want to steal money from the club.

It's easy to imagine that such a person would approach the rivalry in a creative way, but others have not been so kind and things can get nasty when the political side of Lazio fans is touched.

Most of the ultra-politically correct Italian press has been ready to pounce on them because of their alleged right-wing inclination, but again this has been a gross generalisation.

A good chunk of the Lazio fans have definite right-wing beliefs and their cause will not have been helped by the shameful banners in remembrance of deceased Serbian warlord Arkan. There was also the beating of a North African immigrant by a few Lazio fans who used baseball bats emblazoned with a logo and name of a well-known supporters group.

It is disturbing to see that this propaganda has now been widely accepted and that every Lazio fan is now seen as a fascist who comes from bumpkin county and speaks a constantly-mocked spurious Roman accent ('Lazie' instead of 'Lazio') by the Roma 'tifosi'.

On the other hand, cliches can hurt Roma, too, and Totti in particular. For no specific reason, the brilliant Roma forward has now replaced the Carabinieri, one of Italy's police forces, as the butt of everybody's jokes centered on his - as it was with the Carabinieri's - perceived dumbness.

You'll receive Totti jokes through email every day, if you have a large enough address book, and now even people who know nothing about football will have and share their favourite ones.

The Roman accent and dialect have long been 'choice one' for comedies and low budget movies. Italy's most talented and famous comedy actor of all time, Alberto Sordi, made his name by frequently using his native dialect.

This, however, has sometimes translated into the perception that everyone who speaks like that and becomes a public persona is fair game for criticisms and snipes. Totti may be in the 'David Beckham category' as far the number of books he's read (not written: Beckham leads by a mile), but he's not dumber than any other footballer.

This national, underground campaign against him has become so disturbing that some people wonder what's next. It has affected Roma fans, obviously, but sometimes not in the manner one might have expected.

One of them, a comedian named Massimo Giuliani, became something of a television personality by mocking Totti and his speech pattern in a national television show.

The backlash has been huge: Roma fans have risen as one in defence of their captain and icon, and Mr Giuliani - again, a longtime Roma fan and season ticket holder himself long before it became fashionable for artists and actors to associate themselves to football - has been forced to stay away from the Stadio Olimpico as persona non grata

A popular Roma website has been promoting a collection of banners stating that Giuliani 'has been forced to step on the love of his life in order to make a living'.

As everyone else on this planet, Totti can become the target of comedians and impersonators. But when a simple characterization becomes a national obsession and turns a decent person and a star player into a national joke and a cliche for ignorant footballer that, frankly, is taking things too far.

  • Email newsdesk@soccernet.com with your thoughts.
  • Comments

    Use a Facebook account to add a comment, subject to Facebook's Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. Your Facebook name, photo & other personal information you make public on Facebook will appear with your comment, and may be used on ESPN's media platforms. Learn more.