Signed on July 22, 2017 for the now laughable sum of €5 million, Aleksandar Kolarov, then just a few months shy of his 32nd birthday, was seen as a holdover, someone to fill the gap at left-back between the departure of Emerson Palmieri and the eventual coronation of Luca Pellegrini.
With the bar of expectations exceedingly low, Kolarov merely had to tie his shoes correctly to live up to his price tag, but he's gone on to become an indispensable part of Roma ever since, completely erasing the stain of his Lazio past.
And with over 80% of the vote, Kolarov blew the competition out of the water, surpassing John Arne Riise by nearly a 70% margin to become your AS Roma Leftback of the Decade.
Thanks to his iron man streak in Serie A, Kolarov has made over 100 appearances for Roma in all competitions in his two and a half seasons with the club. Across that century of appearances, Kolarov has scored 16 goals and chipped in 17 assists in all competitions. Included in those goals are seven Serie A set-piece strikes.
Notable Achievements: 2018-2019 Offensive Explosion
Throughout his career, Kolarov has been hailed as an all-around attacking fullback, one capable of putting in a good cross or delicately threading a long-ball into the box. Yet, despite that impressive repertoire, Kolarov was never much a goal scoring threat himself, topping out at three league goals on two separate occasions: 2009-2010 with Lazio and 2015-2016 with Manchester City.
And really, during his first season with Roma, the story was pretty much the same. In 47 appearances (all comps), Kolarov found the back of the net only twice but provided a team high 11 assists during the 2017-2018 season.
An impressive performance for sure, but Kolarov added a new wrinkle to his resume the following season. In 43 appearances (all comps), Kolarov's assist numbers fell dramatically (11 to 3) but he more than made up for it with an incredible spike in goals, finding the back of the net nine times, including eight in Serie A (two of which came from set-pieces and three from the spot), leading all defenders in scoring that season.
For a side that struggled to find the back of the net at times under EDF, getting that kind of contribution from your left back was not only remarkable, it was lifesaving.
Where is He Now?
Kolarov, now 34-years-old, is up to his usual tricks. Through 17 rounds of play, Kolarov has played every single Serie A minute thus far, scoring five goals (three from set-pieces) and providing two assists.
In the final year of his Roma deal, Kolarov has been adamant that he intends on playing three to four seasons beyond this one, and given how well he's performed under Paulo Fonseca, Roma would be wise to hold him to his word.
Coming up next, your two center-backs of the decade.