Di Bartolomei, the football story of a true captain and leader

“A true captain, a silent, shy leader […]symbol of a romantic football made of heart, lungs and determination […]. And talented, because “Ago” had plenty to spare”. This is how the FIGC described in 2014 a legend like Agostino Di Bartolomeilegendary captain of Roma’s second Scudetto, who passed away exactly 30 years ago.

Shy, reserved, silent but still a true leader. Di Bartolomei, born in Rome in 1955, tied the most brilliant period of his professional career to Roma. More than 300 matches accumulated, of which almost 150 with the captain’s armband on his arm: a scudetto in 1982/83, three Italian Cups and a Champions Cup only missed with the Giallorossi on that night of 30 May 1984 at the Olimpico . A date which unfortunately also links him to that tragic end which occurred exactly 10 years later.

A football story told to TMW Radio from those who lived in Di Bartolomei in those years, starting from Stefano Impallomeni: “He was the symbol, a leader, a driving force behind that Roma championship. He was the captain of the captains, without taking anything away from Totti and De Rossi. He was Roman, a Romanist, head of the team’s government, he was angular but at the same time funny. He looked like a Roman general, he showed that he was an already accomplished man, with experience, even when he was 27-28. I loved him very much, he saw a talent in me and he respected me and treated me as if I were an already accomplished footballer and I liked this. The disappearance is still a mystery. Everyone has their version but it will never be the true one. My idea is that as if Agostino had eliminated Di Bartolomei but perhaps he realized that he was tired. for various reasons. He wasn’t mediocre, he was very demanding of himself and I don’t know if he felt ready to have the second half of his life at that pace.”

“He was a great footballer, he was slow but he made up for it with technique, power and tactical intelligence – he recalled Franco Peccenini -. He was one of the greats of Italian football. I had a great friendship with him, we won two titles with the youth team, an Italian Cup with the first team. That end? The truth took him away with him but perhaps he felt betrayed by those companies for which he gave so much. A man like him is sorely missed in football, due to his professionalism and correctness.”

While Roberto Scarnecchia, Ago’s teammate at Roma and Milan, added: “An extraordinary person, a man of one piece, never over the top. Even today I ask myself the reason for that gesture, but I remember him for what he taught me in on and off the field. He seemed gruff, but he was just so serious.” “I was lucky enough to play with him when I was a kid in the first years of Serie A, for me he was a point of reference – he added Filippo Galli -. A closed person, very sensitive and who knew how to reach us young people. This sensitivity and fragility of him perhaps led him to make that tragic gesture.”

Another former Roma like Fabio Petruzzi on Di Bartolomei he said: “He was my idol, he was Roma, he was the captain of my Roma who I saw for the first time at the stadium. An extraordinary man, who I saw a lot in Trigoria and who always gave me the feeling of a real man, who with just a few words made himself loved even in silence. There were many champions back then, but for Agostino it was always true love. He was an elegant player, he played in the role of libero with his head held high like few others. He had incredible football.” And then also a memory of one of his “rivals” but also a friend Bruno Giordano: “How many times have we hugged each other… I miss you so much. 30 years is a long time but it seems like yesterday that you left us. I would have liked to hug you today too, with a few more gray hairs.”