Leggo (Romolo Buffoni) Maybe, like Cinderella’s slipper, size matters. The fact is, recently, players who have worn Roma’s famous number 7 shirt haven’t been able to do it justice. The player who wore it with greatest success was Bruno Conti, who wore it, sweating and toiling, for 16 seasons (either side of his loan spells at Genoa). At the time (the late 1970s to the early 1990s) shirts didn’t have players’ names on, but after winning the 1983 scudetto and 5 Coppe Italia (though he missed out on the European Cup), Roma’s number 7 shirt was practically tattooed on Brunetto’s skin.
The shirt was partially restored to its former glories when it was given to David Pizarro, who was even shorter than Conti (1.68m to 1.69m). He played in a completely different position, but he was equally capable of honouring the number which, ever since the Americans took over, has also become recognised as the club’s birthday (7th June, 1927, rather than 22nd July, 1927). Over the course of 6 seasons, Pizarro won 3 Coppe Italia and 1 Supercoppa Italiana – still the last trophies Roma won – wearing that shirt.
Iturbe took on the number 7 shirt between 2014 and this January, but he wasn’t able to live up to its history. Nor were many others who wore if before him: Marquinho, Alvarez, Sartor, Fuser, Bartelt. Others fared better, like Paulo Sergio, Moriero, Desideri and Hassler. The latter, even though he didn’t win anything, was probably the closest – in terms of size (1.66m) and ability – to reaching the standards set by Bruno Conti and Pizarro. Tomorrow, Grenier will become the next to take up the challenge.