Di Bartolomei tragedy casts shadow over Roma v Liverpool clash
Milan, Apr 23 (AFP) The tragedy of former AS Roma captain Agostino Di Bartolomei will be remembered as the Italian club take on Liverpool in the Champions League semi-finals this week.
Di Bartolomei led his boyhood club Roma out at the Stadio Olimpico for the European Cup final against Liverpool on May 30, 1984.
It should have been the highlight of his career but for 29-year-old midfielder the devastating defeat on penalties was to be the start of a tragic downfall.
Ten years to the day after the loss on May 30, 1994, Di Bartolomei took his own life by firing a bullet through his heart.
He had won the Italian Cup three times with AS Roma and the Serie A title in 1983. But the defeat in the European Cup final at the Stadio Olimpico was his last season with AS Roma.
Phil Neal had given Liverpool a 12th-minute lead but Roma replied before the break with a Roberto Pruzzo header.
Extra-time couldn't separate the two teams and so the European Cup would be decided on penalty kicks for the first time.
Di Bartolomei made no mistake on his penalty with his trademark single-step run-up firing the ball straight down the middle.
But Liverpool would win their fourth European Cup with Nils Liedholm's talented Roma side of Bruno Conti, Brazilian star Falcao, Carlo Ancelotti and Di Bartolomei falling short in their own stadium.
Swede Liedholm returned to his former club AC Milan and was later joined by Di Bartolomei who found himself frozen out of the plans of successor Sven-Goran Eriksson.
Di Bartolomei said in numerous interviews he could not understand why he had been dropped by Roma, a club he joined at 14 and for whom he played 308 games, wearing the captain's armband on 146 occasions.
After leaving Roma, he spent three seasons with AC Milan before ending his career in the lower leagues with Cesena and Salernitana in 1990