We recall Vincenzo Montella's finest moments in an AS Roma shirt after the UEFA Europa League round of 16 draw pitted his ACF Fiorentina team against them.
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European ties pitting together domestic rivals always come with added spice, but ACF Fiorentina v AS Roma in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 will be especially meaningful for Viola coach Vincenzo Montella.
Now 40, Montella played 192 Serie A games during a decade with the Giallorossi, scoring 84 goals as well as winning the Scudetto in 2000/01. He also began his senior coaching career with the Giallorossi, taking caretaker charge in 2011.
Statistics and trophies, however, reveal little about the Roma fans' love for Montella. Images of the man whose celebrations earned him the nickname 'Aeroplanino' (Little Plane) fuelled a generation of supporters and he was inducted into the club's hall of fame in 2013. So, for their benefit and yours, we recall five of his finest Roma moments.
AS Roma 4-1 SS Lazio, 21/11/1999
Montella arrived in the Italian capital in summer 1999, three years after notching his first Serie A goal for UC Sampdoria against the Giallorossi – he ended that '96/97 season with 22 league strikes. He made an immediate impression in Rome, the 24-year-old endearing himself to fans with two goals in the Eternal City derby.
AS Roma 3-1 Parma FC, 17/06/2001
Montella lost his place to Gabriel Batistuta in the first part of 2000/01, but his scoring exploits in the second half of the campaign were vital as Fabio Capello's side won the Scudetto for the third time. Roma went into the last day of the season needing victory against Parma FC and Montella played his part, beating Gianluigi Buffon with an opportunistic finish. Francesco Totti and Batistuta also netted.
Juventus 2-2 AS Roma, 06/05/2001
Roma finished the season two points clear of Juve – their comeback in Turin a month earlier having proved crucial. The Giallorossi trailed to goals from Alessandro Del Piero and Zinédine Zidane inside six minutes and, though Hidetoshi Nakata halved Roma's deficit 11 minutes from the end, time was running out when the visitors got an added-time free-kick. Substitute Montella stepped up to fire beyond Edwin van der Sar.
SS Lazio 1-5 AS Roma, 10/03/2002
If the derby two and a half years before had given Montella a golden glow, this display enshrined him as a club great. The 'Aeroplanino' struck four times, the first man to do so in an all-Rome showpiece. His understanding with Totti, who added a fifth with a fantastic lob, was so lethal that Lazio's Italy centre-back Alessandro Nesta was replaced at half-time in confusion.
AC Chievo Verona 2-2 AS Roma, 16/01/2005
The importance of this match is eclipsed by the others in the list, yet the quality of Montella's second of the game stands alone as the best of his 84 Serie A goals for the club. He appeared to have few options when Totti crossed behind him, eight metres from the far post, but the striker readjusted quickly and acrobatically rifled in a spectacular overhead-kick.