Footballers from AS Roma and Lazio as well as players of Roman origins are forming the nucleus of the Italy Men’s National Team at the 2024 European Championship.

Historically, Italian national team coaches of the past have had a nucleus of players from one or two clubs that they could build their squad around. When the Azzurri won the 1982 (Men’s) World Cup, six Juventus players featured regularly under Enzo Bearzot, and he started as many as nine from the Bianconeri four years earlier when they finished fourth.

Current Italy coach Luciano Spalletti does not have the same luxury, even though he likened the Inter contingent of today to the Juventus players from the 1982 squad. Despite not being able to build his starting line-up with players from one club, Il Corriere dello Sport have highlighted that Spalletti can build the majority of his team from one city: Rome.

Spalletti’s Italy lack a clear core, Roman clubs form some basis

Luciano Spalletti takes training with the Italy Men’s National Team. (@Azzurri)

The Italy squad at Euro 2024 consists of five Inter players, and if Francesco Acerbi did not have to pull out due to a groin injury, it would have been six. There are four players from Napoli and four more from Juventus.

From the clubs based in Rome, Lazio have Mattia Zaccagni representing them, and the AS Roma contingent consists of Lorenzo Pellegrini, Gianluca Mancini, Bryan Cristante, and Stephan El Shaarawy.

Pellegrini has started in Italy’s first two matches at Euro 2024. Spalletti has taken the dressing-room dynamic into consideration and he believes it could be of great benefit to the Azzurri.

“If two players in the same area of the pitch are friends, they help each other more, [and] they are willing to sacrifice for each other,” Spalletti told Il Corriere dello Sport.

Italy’s Roman-born core

Riccardo Calafiori with the Italy Men’s National Team. (Azzurri_en)

In addition to the players from AS Roma and Lazio, Italy also has a few players that a Roman natives. Atalanta striker Gianluca Scamacca and Inter midfielder Davide Frattesi are childhood friends from the district of Fidenae, north of Rome’s historical centre, and they had spent time in the youth academies of both the Aquile and Giallorossi.

Bologna revelation Riccardo Calafiori was also a Roma youth product before going on to play for Genoa, Basel, and the Felsinei. He emerged as a left-winger before becoming a left-back, then a centre-back, where he plays today.

Meanwhile, Napoli-owned midfielder Michael Folorunsho was born in Rome and raised in the quarter of Tuscolano. He was a product of the Lazio youth academy, and played under Simone Inzaghi in the Primavera squad. However, Folorunsho was allowed to leave the club as a free agent.

Considering that Rome is the capital city of Italy, it is rather fitting that the Azzurri has a heavy Roman influence. However, those from Rome or based in The Eternal City will have to unite to ensure that the Italians remain at Euro 2024, and not take an early flight home.