They used to sing Masetti’s name in Testaccio in 1931. Guido always had a place at Roma and that continues to be the case. He was there when Roma beat Juventus 5-0. He was there as captain when he received the Scudetto on behalf of Roma in 1942 and he was still there, as coach, when he tried desperately to save Roma in 1951, beating Liedholm’s Italian champions AC Milan.
He retained his title of Mr Roma when he coached the youth teams in the 1970s, with Giorgio Rossi alongside him, and he was there when he stopped to give advice to a young Cudicini (‘You need soft hands Fabio, never tense them’) and when Roma flew to Australia for their first tour Down Under.
He was there alongside Francesco Rocca on the sidelines of the Olimpico when ‘Kawasaki’ ended his playing career. He was there in the stands at the Marassi when Falcao et al won the second Scudetto.
Masetti was and still is synonymous with Roma: he’s still a part of the club’s DNA. His main strength lay in his positional sense. Guido didn’t need to pull out spectacular dives, as he was already in position to save the ball. Even before the rise of ‘Magica Roma’ in the 1980s, Roma had their own magical goalkeeper, always in the right spot, catching every ball with his massive hands.
Vittorio Pozzo always preferred other keepers who, like Combi, were part of a group of players from the same club but Masetti was still a part of the national team set-up, notably on the triumphant campaigns of Italy 1934 and France 1938. His finest hour however remains the 1942 title win when, in a magnificent swansong, he was consistently one of one Roma’s best performers. He was willing to do anything for the Giallorossi, even playing in the derby on 18 October, 1936 with a dislocated shoulder. Bernardini told him, ‘Better you with one hand than anyone else.’ Roma won the match 3-1.
A sarcastic man, fond a practical joke, Masetti also loved the sport and he would have been thrilled to learn of his induction, as it would have taken him back to the best days of his life, his time with the Giallorossi.
So, welcome to the Roma Hall of Fame, Guido Masetti, all-time great. Legend. Icon.
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