10 years on, Senad Lulic looked back at Lazio’s historic Coppa Italia final win over Roma and his decisive 71st minute goal.
The Biancocelesti famously won one of the most important Derby della Capitale matches of all time on 26th May 2013, beating the Giallorossi in the final at the Stadio Olimpico. Lulic was the hero on the day, netting in the 71st minute to guide the team to glory, forever writing his name in the club’s history books.
A decade later, Lazio have decided to commemorate the victory with a special black and gold shirt, paying tribute to the work of Lulic and his teammates in that historic Rome derby.
Contributing to the book ‘26 May, tutta la storia del derby dei derby’ by Fabio Argentini (via LazioNews24), Lulic first remembered his emotions and mentality the day before that derby.
The day before I said to masseur Papola: tomorrow I’ll take care of it. I often go back to Rome. And still after ten years time doesn’t seem to have passed.
When I go to a bar, a restaurant or the playground with my children I keep getting stopped for a photo, an autograph or just a thank you.
This affection of the people is extraordinary, and it tells exactly what that derby represented for this city. Over time, it is thanks to this affection that I have been able to understand the importance of this match.
It is true that as soon as you arrived in Rome they would stop you to ask you to win, especially against Roma. It’s true that the atmosphere before the final was full of tension, you felt it during the games, in Formello, through your teammates who had been in Rome longer.
But what we did by winning that Coppa Italia I really understood in the following months. I come from a culture of toil, from poverty, from the war I experienced as a child.
For me to still be surrounded by so much affection today is the equivalent of having won an important challenge, as a man and as a footballer.
My wife Sandra and I say this to each other often: we grew up together, we arrived in Italy together, and we experienced this affection together. We know that we have made our way and that we have largely achieved what we dreamed of.
When that derby was played, my wife Sandra was expecting our first daughter, Lea. Then Lian and Luca arrived. What I asked of life came true.
He touched on the energy and passion of the fans leading up to the Coppa Italia final.
Underlining the importance of the derby in the final was the people. And with the people also the players who had been here the longest and had lived through exciting moments and difficult days in a squad that always wanted to win the derby, let alone in a historic final.
But in a dressing room there are many figures, perhaps not known to the general public, who are part of the group and who often make the fortunes of that group. The medical staff, the press office, the cooks, the warehousemen, the masseurs…
Many of those guys are Roman and they have always felt the derby inside them. They convey their concerns, they push you to win, they help you understand.
And so, the day before the game, while I was having a massage, I said to Romano Papola, one of the physiotherapists: ‘Don’t worry, I’ll take care of it tomorrow’.
I knew we could do it. After the game, during the celebrations, I hugged him on the pitch and said, ‘Did you see? I took care of it’. But it was just a joke.
I was well aware that we had all thought of it. Players and staff. We won that game together: because we wanted to win it. Everyone.
The former Biancocelesti left back spoke about his decisive goal in the 71st minute.
The goal, of course, I have watched it many times, on TV and in my mind. In my role I always have to enter the penalty area when the action develops on the opposite side. At Candreva’s outstretched cross, two seconds before I realised, I stopped my run and coordinated.
All in an instant, and a lot of luck too. Instinctively I started running towards the bench. One of us had to score that day. It was my turn, but it was the team that won. We won as a collective, we built this victory together, from the coach to the young Primavera players on the bench.
I couldn’t help but share that goal with all my teammates. That night was a succession of in-credible emotions.
From the pre-match to the goal, from the final minutes that seemed like an eternity to the final whistle, to our and our fans’ joy. For a footballer, there is nothing more beautiful than such an evening.
Lulic discussed his celebration and the relationship he had with various teammates.
That run to the bench was also a thank-you to all my teammates. I arrived at Lazio when I was 25 years old and I learned a lot from the more experienced players, humanly and professionally.
Daily lessons that were fundamental and that I gave back when I had the privilege of wearing the captain’s armband. That was a Lazio with many leaders: Scaloni, for example, who in fact today is the coach of the world champion national team.
And then people like Biava, Brocchi, Rocchi, Cana, Klose. With Miro today we are ‘neighbours’ in Austria. He trains Sportclub Rheindorf Altach in Austria, where I also live.
As soon as we can, we see each other with our families and he also goes back to Rome every now and then, which has remained in his heart. I have a great relationship with him.
He is a simple guy like me and that is why we get along well. A worker, always with his feet on the ground. I believe that the real men of previous generations have something more than many of today’s young men.
He touched on why he didn’t change his shirt number to 71 to commemorate the goal.
After that goal, many people asked me to change my shirt number and wear 71, the minute of the goal. I said no, for several reasons. The first was because 19 had been my number for as long as I could remember: at Bellinzona, at Young Boys and then at Lazio.
I was fond of it and it brought me luck, even in that derby. Then because, by character, I don’t make choices that others want. And finally also out of respect for the defeated opponent. A respect that, to tell the truth, I didn’t feel reciprocated.
In the bad days when I suffered the injury to my finger and risked losing it, I saw the banner on TV ‘There is no regrowth’ imitating the motto of the Lazio curva ‘There is no revenge’. I was disappointed and I didn’t think it was right because I never did anything provocative, and I’d be missed.
I could have worn 71 and made fun of them all my life, but I didn’t want to. When I was back on the pitch in Bologna, answering a question on the subject of mocking the Roma fans, I said in a press conference: ‘There’s regrowth but not revenge’.
That time it was all right, but in absolute respect for the defeated opponent is for me the first thing.
Finally, Lulic spoke about how much Lazio means to him and how the fans have treated him.
I lived in the Fleming district, in Piazza Filippo Carli. The next day I wasn’t home, I had already left. I remember the phone call from the doorman of the apartment block: ‘Senad, there are a lot of fans outside. They’re waiting for you to come down…’.
Since that day on every occasion I have felt the love of the fans. They will never know how much I carry them in my heart and how proud I am to be part of the history of this glorious club.