From Bernardini to El Shaarawy: 13 players who scored on their debut

Stephan El Shaarawy made headlines around the world on Saturday night with a delightful backheeled goal on his debut but he wasn’t the first Roma player to score on his first Giallorossi start.

The first two players to write themselves into the record books were Luigi Ziroli and Cesare Fasanelli during Roma's 2-0 win against Livorno on 25 September 1927 – the first official game in Roma's history. In total, 56 players have scored on their Giallorossi debut and we've listed 13 of them in chronological order.

Fulvio Bernardini, 1928

An icon of the Roma side from the Campo Testaccio era, Fulvio Bernardini scored on his debut in the 1928-29 season against Legnano. That goal was the beginning of an unbreakable bond he formed with the Giallorossi colours. Overall, he bagged 47 goals in 303 matches and carved his name into the club's history to such an extent that the training ground in Trigoria bears his name today. He was inducted into the AS Roma Hall of Fame in 2012. 

Rodolfo Volk, 1928

Volk quickly showed his killer instinct on his first Giallorossi appearance in Roma 4-1 Legnano – the same game in which Bernardini got his own debut goal. “I don't think, I score!” was a comment attributed to him, summing up his appetite for finding the net from inside the penalty area. The stats back the statement up too: 106 goals in 161 appearances over five seasons in the capital. 

Alcides Ghiggia, 1953

The Uruguayan winger contested 201 matches for Roma and scored 19 goals, the first of which came on his debut in a 4-0 win against Genoa in 1953-54, which was also the Giallorossi's first victory in a competitive fixture at the Stadio Olimpico.. He was also the main protagonist in the infamous “Maracanazo” final, scoring the goal that pinched the World Cup from under Brazil's noses in their national stadium. He was entered into the Hall of Fame in 2014.

Dino Da Costa, 1955

The Brazil-born Italy player scored 79 times in his Giallorossi career and the first came in a 4-1 win against Vicenza in 1955. Da Costa is perhaps more well-known for his 12 goals against Lazio – nine in the league, one in the Coppa Italia and another in the Coppa Zenobi – which makes him the most prolific goalscorer in the Rome Derby. He's followed by Francesco Totti in this special category who has 11 Serie A goals against the Biancocelesti. 

Gunnar Nordahl, 1956

With 225 goals, the Swede was second in the all-time Serie A scoring charts behind Silvio Piola on 277 until Francesco Totti – currently on 244 – overtook him in March 2013. After a lengthy career at AC Milan, he spent 1956 to 1958 in the capital and scored in a Roma v Genoa 1-1 draw on his first outing for the club.  

Pedro Manfredini, 1959

Pedro Manfredini made a goalscoring debut in a 4-0 victory against Cagliari in the early rounds of the Coppa Italia in 1959-60. Manfredini stayed at Roma until 1965 and won the golden boot in 1962-63. He notched 18 goals in 20 games in European competitions and won the Fairs Cup in 1960-61 with the Giallorossi. His goals also helped Roma to their first Coppa Italia triumph in 1963-64.

Roberto Pruzzo, 1978

Il Bomber. One of the iconic faces of the Roma sides of the 1980s, Pruzzo made his debut at home to Ascoli in the Coppa Italia in 1978, banging in a brace to help his new side to a 2-1 win. Pruzzo went on to score a total of 138 goals for the Giallorossi, making him the club’s second-highest scorer of all time after Francesco Totti. The striker was part of the 1983 Scudetto-winning side and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012.

Zbigniew Boniek, 1985

Having signed for Roma in 1985 after winning it all with Juventus, Zibi marked his first appearance with a goal in Roma’s 4-0 demolition of Catanzaro in the Coppa Italia, a trophy the Giallorossi would go on to win that season. Boniek finished up his time in Rome with 23 goals in 92 appearances.

Walter Samuel, 2000

Nova Gorica 1-4 Roma, 14 September 2000. Walter Samuel’s debut brought with it the first of 11 goals in 173 appearances for the Giallorossi. It proved to be something of a good omen, as Fabio Capello’s Roma side would claim the third Scudetto title in the history of the club come the end of the season. The Argentine defender quickly cemented his place as a leader in an ironclad backline during what will always be remembered as a truly special year.

Gabriel Omar Batistuta, 2000

When you think of Gabriel Omar Batistuta’s time at Roma, his goal in the 7-0 crushing of Nova Gorica is probably not the first that comes to mind. More memorable were his goals against Fiorentina, Parma and Verona, to name but a few. But that goal against Slovenian side Nova Gorica on a UEFA Cup night at the Stadio Olimpico was Batistuta’s first in the Giallorossi shirt and the first in an unforgettable season that would culminate in title glory. Batistuta was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2015 in recognition of his achievements.

Erik Lamela, 2012

Erik Lamela joined Roma in the summer of 2011 but was made to wait until 23 October for his debut on account of an ankle injury. The Argentine wasted little time in announcing himself to the Olimpico faithful as he scored a wonderful goal to give his side a 1-0 win over Palermo, cutting in from the left to curl a peach into the far corner. In total, Lamela scored 21 goals for the Giallorossi.

Adem Ljajic, 2013

Ljajic was the last man to score on his Roma debut until Stephan El Shaarawy’s stunning backheel on Saturday. It came in the 2013-14 season against Verona at the Stadio Olimpico, in Rudi Garcia’s second competitive match in charge. The Serbian forward picked up the ball deep in the Verona half, nudging it forward a few yards before rifling a powerful right-footed effort into the net. Ljajic has scored 15 goals in 74 appearances for the Giallorossi.

Stephan El Shaarawy, 2016

Stephan El Shaarawy can barely have dreamed of a better way to introduce himself to the Stadio Olimpico. His wonderful backheel effort set Luciano Spalletti’s side on their way to a 3-1 victory over Frosinone on Saturday and will live long in the memory. Welcome to Roma, Stephan.

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