Gabriel Batistuta may not be the best player in Roma history, but he is the standard by which every transfer this club has made since 2000 has been judged. After all, Roma shelled out 70 billion Lire for Batigol, a record for a player over the age of 30, and Batistuta delivered immediately, scoring 20 league goals in 2000-2001, helping guide Roma to their third Scudetto.
So, it is quite fitting that Batistuta headlines the Class of 2015, Roma's latest list of inductees into the club's Hall of Fame. While they've yet to iron out the wrinkles in the selection process—you can't shake the feeling that it won't gain full legitimacy until Totti is enshrined—Batistuta's selection is testament to how a few magical moments can permanently etch your name into club lore. After all, following his triumphant debut in 2001, Batistuta's Roma career wasn't anything to write home about, as his goal scoring output fell from 20 to six, all the way down to four in his final season.
However, there can be no doubt, were it not for Batistuta, Roma would not have captured that Scudetto. Any way you slice it, that's 70 billion lire well spent.
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Joining Batigol in this honor is Guido Masetti, a Scudetto-winning goalkeeper who played 14 seasons for the club, defender Sergio Santorini who played 13 seasons with Roma and is credited with revolutionizing the club's defensive tactics and defensive midfielder Damiano Tommasi, who played ten seasons for Roma, including the '01 title year.
While Batistuta accepted this honor rather succinctly, simply saying "It's an honor for me to enter the AS Roma Hall of Fame", Tommasi was more effusive, really speaking to heart of what makes this club so special.
It's a great feeling to be inducted into the Hall of Fame, but I must say that I don't feel that I'm on the same level as my fellow members. Standing alongside the greats of Roma's history feels a bit like spending a day with your heroes. My stay at Roma was one of ups and downs - but thankfully not in that order. That doesn't happen often, in fact it usually goes the other way round. Seeing my name in the Hall of Fame is a reflection of how my career at Roma finished on a high. I only realized just what I'd left behind a few years after I'd departed. It was in the build-up to a Chievo v Roma match and I'd been invited by a group of Giallorossi fans to have dinner alongside some Chievo supporters. My parents were there too and it was an emotional moment that hit home that I was no longer a Roma player. They made me realize that it was more than just the footballer they missed
The Class of 2015 pushes Roma's Hall of Fame to 23 members. So, apart from Totti, who else among the current squad is Hall worthy?