Born on 3 February 1906, Mario De Micheli began his football adventure with Fortitudo – and so became one of the founding players in the story of AS Roma. During the 1927-28 season he was a member of both the reserve and youth team, with only the compulsory military service preventing him from making his debut during that first season in Italian football. Eventually, however, his time came – making his debut in July 1928 against Pro Patria in the Coppa Coni.
Born and raised in Trastevere, Di Micheli was nicknamed ‘er faciolaro’ (Roman slang for 'the greengrocer'), because his father was a vegetable seller in Piazza San Cosimato. A full-back with technique and undoubted physical strength, De Micheli’s style quickly endeared himself to supporters – with his willingness to fight and his loyalty proving incredibly popular. He became one of the symbols of the club.
Perhaps this well demonstrated in May 1931, when a member of the Lazio staff who entered the pitch and picked up the ball was greeted with a punch from the player. De Micheli paid the consequences for that outburst, although in some ways it only went to enhance the reputation he already enjoyed among supporters. His career was cruelly cut short when he was just 26 because of knee issues – but he remained Romanista until his death in 1965.
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