Claudio Lotito – President of Lazio has been a driving force and reaches 15 years
Lazio began a transformation in the early 90’s which propelled the club to a prestigious status. Sergio Cragnotti purchased the club in 1992 and was an owner who went to all means to win championships. Lazio in the 90’s was an elite squad with some of the best players in Serie A. Millions of dollars were invested into the club and they bought players such as Hernan Crespo, Christian Vieri, Sinisa Mihajlovic, Alessandro Nesta and Lazio’s current coach Simone Inzaghi.
Lazio employed former Fiorentina Coach Sven-Goran Erickson in 1997. With a lot of the big investments coming before Erickson joined the club, Lazio only came as close as second place in the standings for the Scudetto, until his arrival. In 1998, Lazio won the Coppa Italia and the Italian Super Cup and missed the Scudetto by a point against AC Milan in the season afterwards.
In 2000, Lazio played a beautiful brand of football. They achieved a double winning season and took home a Scudetto and the European Super Cup. The 1999/00 squad is remembered as one of the best teams in Lazio’s era with players such as Roberto Sensini, Marcelo Salas, Nesta, and Inzaghi.
While the team went through a time of winning and was established as one of the best in that period, it wasn’t until 2002 that Lazio hit rock bottom. Cragnotti’s spending started to catch up to him and Lazio was suffering from corruption allegations. Due to financial problems, they had to sell players such as Crespo, Juan Sebastian Veron and fan favourite, Nesta, who went to their rivals AC Milan. The year after, the team won it’s fourth Coppa Italia with a less talented squad which showed that financial constraints would not limit the team from winning.
In 2002, a period of uncertainty was about to begin for the Biancocelesti. Cragnotti went through a financial scandal and was forced to sell Lazio while his company, Ciro filed for bankruptcy. When this transpired, the team was controlled by caretaker financial managers and a bank pool.
In 2004, entrepreneur Claudio Lotito purchased a majority of S.S. Lazio and this new owner meant a new era would begin for the club. When Lotito took over Lazio, he was left with a budget of 84 million Euros in revenue, 86 million in losses and 55 million in debts. Lotito took on this challenge with their budget constraints and, since his arrival, has brought stability to the club.
Lotito has owned Lazio for 15 years and, while some fans have not been fond of him, most would have to agree that he saved a club that had an uncertain future. Lazio’s financial situation is now positive as the club made 38 million Euros in revenue in the 2018/19 season, according to Lotito. Many clubs face financial restrictions and penalties from FIFA due to breaking Financial Fair Play regulations. Rather than overspending as other teams had done, Lotito has brought a winning team by combining high caliber players with academy players and those who are under the radar.
In Lotito’s time, he has brought notable players such as Miroslav Klose, Ciro Immobile and Sergej Milinkovic Savic. He has also brought in sought-after Sporting Director, Igli Tare, his right-hand man. The two together have made impactful signings and deals in the Lotito era, winning three Coppa Italias and two Supercoppa Italiana.
The owner doesn’t expect to take a step back and wants to grow the team.
According to Claudio Lotito, “I think the club has made real efforts to form a competitive squad next year… The fact we are second only to Juventus in Italy for the number of trophies won in recent years shows we have created a sense of stability. The difference now is that Lazio fans feel secure going into the future and our growth from here on cannot help but be exponential.”
Lotito continues, “We’ve very proud to have taken over 15 years ago with Lazio on the verge of bankruptcy with over 500 million euros in debt and over time proving the skeptics wrong, as we built the foundations on concrete and not sand. Look at how many clubs are now struggling or have been wiped out. We set the example for many in Italy.”
It’s been a successful 15 years under Lotito. Lazio has developed stability and are now able to compete with top tier teams and win multiple trophies. The club has no financial issues compared to other clubs and continues to grow as they made revenue this past season. Hopefully, the owner will bring Lazio to the next level to compete in Champions League. This would be meaningful as they endured many obstacles within the past 15 years. We should be grateful, because if it weren’t for Lotito, we wouldn’t be cheering for the team we love so much. So, thank you Mr. Lotito and Forza Lazio!