When the 2017/2018 Serie A season kicks off it will remarkably be the first in twenty-five years without featuring the legendary Roma and Italy forward Francesco Totti.
Over a remarkable career that saw him make 619 competitive appearances for ‘I Giallorossi’ (The Yellow and Reds) and earn 58 caps for his country, he finally hung up his boots for the last time in May 2017 aged 40, subsequently taking up the offer for a place on the clubs board of directors.
A.S Roma & Totti – A Lifelong Love Affair
It is exceptionally rare nowadays for players to stick with one club for their entire career, especially one as long as Totti’s.
Even other big name stars who spend the majority of their careers with a single team usually take up the opportunity for one last big pay day in an emerging league (U.S.A, China, Australia etc).
That was never an option for Totti though; who upon several occasions later in his career was adamant that he would retire as soon as Roma no longer wanted him.
Naturally, this unusual sense of loyalty made Totti not only the most loved player in Roma’s history but also endeared him to fans of other teams across the globe.
‘Il Bimbo d’Oro’ (The Golden Boy) and ‘Il Re di Roma’ (The King of Rome) were just two of the nicknames he earned over his career, and not without fair reason. He famously stated that winning a single Scudetto with Roma (achieved in 2000-2001) was the same as winning ten with any other club.
However even way back then few would have predicted he still had another sixteen years of service to give.
It says something that he still holds the record for the youngest ever club captain in the history of Serie A. He was appointed the role at the age of 22 back in 1998 – and held on to it for the next eighteen years.
Playing Style & Career Landmarks
It is incredibly uncommon for an attacking player to continue playing to an elite standard well at the age Totti managed.
This is especially the case in Italy where defenses are legendarily tight, organized and often focus their attention on making sure that playmakers such as Totti are on the end of plenty of rough tackling.
However, Totti’s rare blend of physical strength, endurance, and marvelous skills as a footballer often had the last laugh with the player scoring 250 competitive goals for Roma as well as laying on well over a hundred assists for his teammates.
Over his career, he was a five times winner of the Serie A Italian Player of the Year, twice won the overall Serie A Player of the Year award, one Young Player of the Year award, as well as one Top Goalscorer and two Goal of the Year trophies.
For a player who only won the league that one time, alongside back to back Coppa Italia wins in 2006-2007 & 2007-2008 (plus to Supercoppas in 2001 and 2007) it’s a pretty remarkable individual record which demonstrates exactly why the Totti legacy will be long remembered.
Totti Roma Legend: Here’s Some Trivia
* He was on the verge of signing youth terms with fierce Roman rivals Lazio just to be poached by Roma at the last minute! How different history could have been.
* Early in his career nobody really knew his best position. Before settling on a classic number 10 role, he was often played as a striker or even on the wings despite his relative lack of acceleration.
* Christiano Ronaldo emulated Totti’s pioneering training regime as a young player which massively improved his overall fitness and ultimately playing longevity. He is arguably the pioneering example of what it takes to be an elite 21st-century footballer.
* At various stages, he has worn T-shirts under his club strip to reveal when celebrating a goal. These have ranged from numerous goading remarks about Lazio to political and protest themes.
* His 2005 wedding was aired live on Italian TV!
Francesco Totti Emotional Farewell Speech
He will be missed. What are your fondest memories of Totti? Share with us.