Serie A in Italy has had a lot of long-running clubs, and among the oldest is Associazione Sportiva Roma, though most of us just call them A.C. Roma or Roma. Over the years, Roma has had dozens of managers come through Stadio Olimpico with some not sticking around long due to lack of results while others have helped Roma reach new heights. Out of all of those managers, here are the five best in the club’s history.
5. Alfredo Foni
Born in 1911, Alfredo Foni had a lengthy playing career, most notably with Juventus where he appeared in 266 matches over the course of 13 years. Following his retirement in 1947, Foni had a 30-year managing career that included stints with more than a half dozen clubs and two national teams (Italy and Switzerland).
Among those clubs was Roma, who Foni managed in 1960 and 1961. Foni’s brief Roma career was highlighted by winning the 1960-61 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. The club defeated Cologne XI in the quarterfinals and then Hibernian in the semis, both in play-off matches. Roma drew with Birmingham City in the first leg of the finals but clinched the cup on a 2-0 win in the second leg.
4. Jose Mourinho
Jose Mourinho is no stranger to pressure, especially as a manager of some of the most prominent clubs in the world. Following his playing career that lasted from 1980 to 1987, Mourinho became the manager of Benfica, eventually making his way to Chelsea in 2004. After spending three years there, Mourinho had stops with Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Chelsea (again), Manchester United, and Tottenham Hotspur before landing with Roma in 2021.
Mourinho had won the English Premier League multiple times as a manager and brought his winning ways to Roma. In 2022, Roma won the UEFA Europa Conference League by defeating Boda/Glimt in the quarterfinals, Leicester City in the semis, and then Feyenoord in the finals 1-0.
3. Fabio Capello
The only manager on the list that actually played for Roma during his career, Fabio Capello was on the squad from 1967 to 1970, ending his career with A.C. Milan in 1980. Capello then managed A.C. Milan and Real Madrid during the 1990s before ending the decade by becoming Roma’s manager.
Capello’s record with Roma was 118-73-50 and was highlighted by his time in 2001. That year, Capello won both the Supercoppa Italiana and Serie A championships. Following his tenure as Roma’s manager, Capello returned to Real Madrid before managing both the English and Russian national teams.
2. Nils Liedholm
Known for his playing career with A.C. Milan from 1949 to 1961 in which he made 359 appearances, Nils Liedholm was among the greatest football players from Sweden. Liedholm went into management immediately after retiring from playing and managed six different clubs from 1961 to 1996 including multiple stints with Roma.
The first time Liedholm managed Roma was from 1973 to 1977, then again from 1979 to 1984, and finally in 1996. During his three tenures, Liedholm won several honours with the club. His first major honour came in the form of the 1979-80 Coppa Italia, which he would win two more times. In 1984, Roma was the runner-up of the European Cup and in 1983, Liedholm led Roma to the Serie A title.
1. Luciano Spalletti
Following his playing career that lasted from 1984 to 1993, Luciano Spalletti jumped right into management where he led Empoli for several years before moving on to Sampdoria, Venezia, Udinese, and Ancona before finally landing with Roma for two stints from 2005-2009, and 2016-2017.
Spalletti’s first run with Roma ended with a record of 122-53-49 while his second was 50-11-14. Spalletti was named the Serie A Coach of the Year in back-to-back seasons, his first two in Roma. Spalletti’s career was highlighted by a Supercoppa Italiana title and back-to-back Coppa Italia championships in 2007 and 2008.