Considered to be the most hostile and fiercely contested local derby in Italian football since its introduction in December 8, 1929, the Derby della Capitale is a derby never short of incident.
However something very rarely seen is that of a player switching allegiances and playing for both halves of the Eternal City; Forza Italian Football profiles the careers of the top ten brave enough to do so.
When Siniša Mihajlovic wasn’t racially abusing someone, praising war criminals, or spitting in an opponent’s ear, he was actually a fantastic footballer known for his dead-ball specialism, and in him we have the first foreigner on our list.
After inspiring Red Star Belgrade to win the 1991-92 European Cup, converting his spot kick in the final shootout against Marseille, and triumphing in the consequential Intercontinental Cup, Mihajlovic went on to join Roma at the end of the season where he embarked on an extraordinary, and sometimes controversial, Serie A adventure.
Mihajlovic served two years with Roma, taking one of their three foreigner spots in the first team, and playing at both left-midfield and left-back, he made 54 Serie A appearances for the Roman’s. The former Yugoslavia international played an important role in Roma’s European Cup campaign in 1992, helping them to the quarter finals where he scored what would become a trademark free kick to give Roma a first leg advantage against Borussia Dortmund, before losing out in the return leg, suffering a 2-1 aggregate defeat.
Siniša left Roma in 1994 following a trophy barren spell to join Sampdoria prior to making the big switch to Lazio in 1998 where he would spend six legendary seasons. During his time with Lazio Mihajlovic inspired the side to a number of honours including; the UEFA Cup Winners Cup in 1998–99, the UEFA Super Cup in 1999, two Coppa Italia’s and two Super Coppa Italia’s while chipping in with an excellent return of 32 goals. However Mihajlovic’s crowning glory was surely achieved in 2000 when he helped the Biancocelesti to the Scudetto crown for only the second time in their history, contributing seven goals in twenty-six league matches.
To this day Mihajlovic holds the Serie A record for goals scored directly from free kicks with 27 strikes to his name, including a hat-trick of free kicks for Lazio against his former employers Sampdoria in 1998 and explained, “I don’t think I would ever have played football if free-kicks had never existed”.
The ‘Bomber of Borovo’, as he was known, certainly deserves his place on our list if not for his mastery of the free kick for both Rome clubs, but also because he is the only man on our list to actually win the Scudetto crown while playing in the Capital.