Società Sportiva Lazio S.p.A.
MANAGER: Flavjo Tarja
OWNER: Claudio Lotito
CHAIRMAN: Claudio Lotito
CAPTAIN: Senad Lulić
NICKNAME: I Biancocelesti (The White and Sky Blues), Le Aquile (The Eagles)
HOME GROUND: Stadio Olimpico
LEAGUE: SERIE A
RIVALRIES: AS Roma, Napoli, Livorno, Pescara, Atalanta, Fiorentina, Juventus, AC Milan
Società Sportiva Lazio, commonly referred to as Lazio, is an Italian professional sports club based in Rome, most known for its football activity.
The society, founded in 1900, plays in the Serie A and have spent most of their history in the top tier of Italian football.
Lazio have been Italian champions twice (1974, 2000), and have won the Coppa Italia seven times, the Supercoppa Italiana three times, and both the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Super Cup on one occasion.
The club had their first major success in 1958, winning the domestic cup. In 1974, they won their first Serie A title.
The 1990s were the most successful period in Lazio’s history, with the team reaching the UEFA Cup final in 1998, winning the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup and UEFA Super Cup in 1999, and clinching the Serie A title in 2000.
Due to a severe economic crisis in 2002 that forced president Sergio Cragnotti out of the club along with several star players being sold, Lazio’s success in the league declined.
In spite of the lower funds, the club has won four Coppa Italia titles since then – in 2004, 2009, 2013 and 2019. Current president Claudio Lotito took charge of the club in 2004, filling the vacuum that had existed following Cragnotti’s departure.
Lazio’s traditional kit colours are sky blue shirts and white shorts with white socks; the colours are reminiscent of Rome’s ancient Hellenic legacy. Sky blue socks have also been interchangeably used as home colours.
Their home is the 70,634 capacity Stadio Olimpico in Rome, which they share with A.S. Roma. Lazio have a long-standing rivalry with Roma, with whom they have contested the Derby della Capitale (in English “Derby of the capital city” or Rome derby) since 1929.
Despite initially not having any parent-subsidiary relation with the male and female professional team (that was incorporated as S.S. Lazio S.p.A.), the founding of Società Sportiva Lazio allowed for the club that participates in over 40 sports disciplines in total, more than any other sports association in the world.
Società Podistica Lazio was founded on 9 January 1900 in the Prati district of Rome.
Until 1910, the club played at an amateur level until it officially joined the league competition in 1912 as soon as the Italian Football Federation began organising championships in the centre and south of Italy, and reached the final of the national championship playoff three times, but never won, losing in 1913 to Pro Vercelli, in 1914 to Casale and in 1923 to Genoa 1893.
In 1927, Lazio was the only major Roman club that resisted the Fascist regime’s attempts to merge all the city’s teams into what would become A.S. Roma the same year.
The club played in the first organised Serie A in 1929 and, led by legendary Italian striker Silvio Piola, achieved a second-place finish in 1937 – its highest pre-war result.
The 1950s produced a mix of mid and upper table results with a Coppa Italia win in 1958. Lazio was relegated for the first time in 1961 to the Serie B but returned in the top flight two years later.
After a number of mid-table placements, another relegation followed in 1970–71. Back to Serie A in 1972–73, Lazio immediately emerged as surprise challengers for the Scudetto to Milan and Juventus in 1972–73, only losing out on the final day of the season, with a team comprising captain Giuseppe Wilson, as well as midfielders Luciano Re Cecconi and Mario Frustalupi, striker Giorgio Chinaglia, and head coach Tommaso Maestrelli.
Lazio improved such successes the following season, ensuring its first title in 1973–74. However, the tragic deaths of Re Cecconi and Scudetto trainer Maestrelli, as well as the departure of Chinaglia, would be a triple blow for Lazio.
The emergence of Bruno Giordano during this period provided some relief as he finished League top scorer in 1979 when Lazio finished eighth.
Lazio were forcibly relegated to Serie B in 1980 due to a remarkable scandal concerning illegal bets on their own matches, along with Milan.
They remained in Italy’s second division for three seasons in what would mark the darkest period in Lazio’s history.
They would return in 1983 and manage a last-day escape from relegation the following season. The 1984–85 season would prove harrowing, with a pitiful 15 points and bottom place finish.
In 1986, Lazio was hit with a nine-point deduction (a true death blow back in the day of the two-point win) for a betting scandal involving player Claudio Vinazzani.
An epic struggle against relegation followed the same season in Serie B, with the club led by trainer Eugenio Fascetti only avoiding relegation to Serie C after play-off wins over Taranto and Campobasso.
This would prove a turning point in the club’s history, with Lazio returning to Serie A in 1988 and, under the careful financial management of Gianmarco Calleri, the consolidation of the club’s position as a solid top-flight club.
The arrival of Sergio Cragnotti in 1992 changed the club’s history due to his long-term investments in new players to make the team a Scudetto competitor.
A notable early transfer during his tenure was the capture of English midfielder Paul Gascoigne from Tottenham Hotspur for £5.5 million. Gascoigne’s transfer to Lazio is credited with the increase of interest in Serie A in the United Kingdom during the 1990s.
Cragnotti repeatedly broke transfer records in pursuit of players who were considered major stars – Juan Sebastián Verón for £18 million, Christian Vieri for £19 million and breaking the world transfer record, albeit only for a matter of weeks, to sign Hernán Crespo from Parma for £35 million.
Lazio were Serie A runners-up in 1995, third in 1996 and fourth in 1997, then losing the championship just by one point to Milan on the last championship’s match in 1999 before, with the likes of Siniša Mihajlović, Alessandro Nesta, Marcelo Salas and Pavel Nedvěd in the side, winning its second Scudetto in 2000, as well as the Coppa Italia double with Sven-Göran Eriksson (1997–2001) as manager.
In 2000, Lazio became also the first Italian football club to be quoted on the Italian Piazza Affari stock market.
With money running out, however, Lazio’s results slowly worsened in the years. In 2002, a financial scandal involving Cragnotti and his food products multinational Cirio forced him to leave the club, and Lazio was controlled until 2004 by caretaker financial managers and a bank pool.
This forced the club to sell their star players and even fan favourite captain Alessandro Nesta. In 2004, entrepreneur Claudio Lotito acquired the majority of the club.
In 2006, the club qualified for the 2006–07 UEFA Cup under coach Delio Rossi. The club, however, was excluded from European competitions due to their involvement in a match-fixing scandal.
In the 2006–07 season, despite a later-reduced points deduction, Lazio achieved a third-place finish, thus gaining qualification to the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round, where they defeated Dinamo București to reach the group phase, and ended fourth place in the group composed of Real Madrid, Werder Bremen and Olympiacos.
Things in the league did not go much better, with the team spending most of the season in the bottom half of the table, sparking the protests of the fans, and eventually ending the Serie A season in 12th place. In the 2008–09 season, Lazio won their fifth Coppa Italia, beating Sampdoria in the final.
Lazio started the 2009–10 season playing the Supercoppa Italiana against Inter in Beijing and winning the match 2–1, with goals from Matuzalém and Tommaso Rocchi.
Lazio won the 2012–13 Coppa Italia 1–0 over rivals Roma with the lone goal coming from Senad Lulić. Lazio won the 2018–19 Coppa Italia 2–0 over Atalanta, winning their seventh title overall.
On 22 December 2019, Lazio won their fifth Supercoppa Italiana title, following a 3–1 victory over Juventus.
Lazio mounted an unexpected title challenge during the 2019–20 Serie A season. A poor run of form following the restart of the Serie A campaign after the COVID-19 suspension saw Lazio fall out of the title race.
On 24 July 2020, Lazio qualified for the Champions League for the first time in 12 years after securing a top 4 finish.