Roma - Squad profiles
February 13, 2003
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Francesco Antonioli (goalkeeper)

Born: 14.09.69

Nationality: Italian

Underrated, authoritative keeper who seems to improve with every passing year. Experienced a major career setback when discarded in 1993 by Milan after a handful of unconvincing first team displays.

But regained lost ground with good work at Pisa, Reggiana and Bologna before signing for Roma in 1999.

He has not looked back since and his experience will be vital to coach Fabio Capello in the second phase of this Champions League competition.

Group A: Barcelona | Bayer Leverkusen | Inter Milan | Newcastle

Group B: Ajax Amsterdam | Arsenal | AS Roma | Valencia

Group C: AC Milan | Borussia Dortmund | L Moscow | Real Madrid

Group D: Basle | Deportivo | Juventus | Manchester Utd

Cafu (defender)

Born: 07.06.70

Nationality: Brazilian

Outstanding right-back or wing-back who skippered Brazil to World Cup glory last summer and now has appeared in the last three Finals of the game's greatest competition.

Not for nothing is he known in Italy as 'Pendolino' after the country's express trains.

His pacy overlapping runs are his trademark and he takes every opportunity to get forward.

Started out at Sao Paulo and has also played for Spanish side Zaragoza, Brazilian club Palmeiras, from whom he joined Roma in 1997.

Leandro Cufre (defender)

Born: 09.05.78

Nationality: Argentine

Central defensive back-up signed from Argentine club, Gimnasia y Esgrima La Plata in 2001.

Quick off the mark and powerful, he used to partner Walter Samuel in the Argentine Under 20 side.

Now a full international, he is a bit part player for boss Fabio Capello and he played his part in the first phase of the Champions League, appearing against Real Madrid and AEK Athens.

Traianos Dellas (defender)

Born: 31.01.76

Nationality: Greek

Tough-tackling defensive marker who arrived this summer on a Bosman free transfer from Perugia.

However, it was certainly not an uncontroversial deal and the newspaper stories surrounded it rumbled on for some time.

When Perugia chairman, Luciano Gaucci heard early this year that Dellas intended to move to Roma at the end of the season, he banned him from the first team squad for the rest of the campaign. It was worth the hassle as he is now at home in Rome.

Christian Panucci (defender)

Born: 12.04.73

Nationality: Italian

A mainstay for Roma on the right-side of their three-man defence, though he also has the versatility to operate at right-back or wing-back.

Physical and competitive, strong in the air and comfortable on the ball, but he can be overly temperamental and suffer from lapses in concentration.

Previous clubs include, Atalanta, Milan, Real Madrid, Chelsea and Monaco, he is a master of his art and played his part for Italy during their World Cup campaign during the summer.

Walter Samuel (defender)

Born: 22.03.78

Nationality: Argentine

A solid, uncompromising centre-back bought from Buenos Aires club, Boca Juniors for £13 million two years ago.

An excellent man-marker, tenacious, ruthless and a good reader of the game, he goes about his business with the minimum of fuss.

The lynchpin of Capello's rear-guard, he rarely seems to have an off-day and his willingness to fight for the cause cannot be underestimated. Played for Argentina during the World Cup finals during the summer.

Luigi Sartor (defender)

Born: 30.01.75

Nationality: Italian

A much-travelled journeyman full-back or central defender, who is usually to be found on the bench.

Made his Serie A debut as an 18-year-old with Juventus and later went on to play for Reggiana, Vicenza, Inter and Parma, joining Roma at the start of this season.

Not one of the stars of the side, but his importance to Fabio Capello should not be underestimated now that he has finally found a settled home for his talents.

Jonathan Zebina (defender)

Born: 19.07.78

Nationality: French

Roma coach Fabio Capello appreciates the young central defender's athleticism and marking skills.

But a number of mistakes this season have led to him becoming the whipping boy of the Roma crowd and recently some fans angrily confronted him after a training session.

Began with French club Cannes and then played for Cagliari in Serie A before joining Roma in 2001. With the manager on his side, he will have a role to play in the second phase of the Champions League.

Vincent Candela (midfielder)

Born: 24.10.73

Nationality: French

Swashbuckling, incisive and determined, Candela plays on the left-side of midfield for Roma but is used at left-back by France, for whom he has largely had to play second-fiddle to Bixente Lizarazu.

Made his professional debut as a 20-year-old with Toulouse, moving on to Guingamp and joining Roma in January 1997. Forced his way into the France side during the 2002 World Cup, but he could not avert their disastrous first round exit.

Emerson (midfielder)

Born: 04.04.76

Nationality: Brazilian

Emerson was supposed to skipper Brazil at World Cup 2002, only to dislocate a shoulder while keeping goal in a practice match and be forced out of the entire tournament.

A powerfully-built midfield all rounder, who can both destroy and create.

Moved to Roma from top Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen in 2000 and he has plenty of experience in Champions League football. One of the first names on Fabio Capello's team sheet.

Josep Guardiola (midfielder)

Born: 18.01.71

Nationality: Spanish

Bought from fellow Serie A club Brescia in the close season, 'Pep' has been through trying times of late, testing positive for nandrolone and though he claimed he was innocent, he had to serve a ban.

But he bounced back well and was in such good form for Brescia in the latter part of the campaign that Capello snapped him up.

An outstanding deep-lying playmaker, he was part of the furniture at Barcelona for eleven years and remains a legend at the Nou Camp.

Gianni Guigou (midfielder)

Born: 22.02.75

Nationality: Uruguayan

Utility man bought from Nacional of Montevideo in 2000 but for whom first team opportunities have proved limited.

Used on either side of midfield or at left back, he is a neat and tidy player with lots of tactical discipline and good distribution.

This is not the sort of performer who will get Roma through a tight spot in the Champions League, but he is valuable back-up for Fabio...
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