"Thinking back to my early days at Roma, I remember the jovial solidarity that we young players had. We were attempting to achieve a dream that not everybody would manage. We knew that only a few of us would succeed, the lucky ones. We were all from districts of Rome, you had people from Tiburtino III, San Basilio, Quarticciolo, I was from Quadraro... And looking back over my life, my only regret is that I didn't win a title with my beloved team. I would have loved to have done more for my city and for Roma."
Giancarlo De Sisti's precocious talent was first unearthed at Forlivesi and he joined Roma's academy at a very young age. His ability to knit together the team's play was extraordinary, as was his tireless engine that earned him the lifelong nickname 'Picchio' [the Woodpecker]. He won two Scudetto titles with the Juniores side – the Primavera of that era – before graduating to the first team and winning the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup and the historic 1963-64 Coppa Italia, the first of Roma’s nine domestic cup triumphs to date.
His sale to Fiorentina in 1965 for 165 million lire plus Renato Benaglia ensured the club was able to survive a difficult financial period. His time in Florence was full of highs but he never forgot the Giallorossi world, something that was clear for everyone to see when he came back to the capital for the funeral of famous club masseur Angelino Cerretti.
In 1974, he made his intentions clear and turned down offers from other prestigious clubs, favouring a return home instead having won a Scudetto, a European Championship and reached a World Cup final in the intervening years.
On 1 December 1974, he scored the winning goal in a historic derby, a feat that was described by Ciccio Cordova as "utterly liberating for everyone involved with the club". To celebrate the goal, fans gifted him a helmet from Ancient Rome and De Sisti received it under the Curva with these words: "I'll treasure it for the rest of my life."
Giancarlo also treasured the love of all Roma fans, who have now voted him into the club's distinguished Hall of Fame.
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