Every sport has its heroes, and beyond them there are legends. In football, a definite centurial one has been Francesco Totti. Now after 25 years of loyalty, goals, titles and dazzling skills he has hanged his boots. The Italian forward is an institution in his club, country, and the whole sport. He has been an excellent player in both last centuries, is a synonym of it and talent on them. Proving that loyalty and being a one-man club also pays.
Last Sunday all eyes were on Rome, as one of the greatest to ever grace the game played his final minutes. Luckily, it was in his hometown/stadium, where an incredible tribute along a painful goodbye was made. Flags, mosaics and banners honoring “Il Capitano”. With everyone in the sold-out stadium chanting his name. He got a #10 Totti shirt, a T-shirt emblazoned with “Forever our Captain” or “There is only one captain”. From two-year-olds to 80-year-old pensioners, everyone was there for Totti. With the Curva Sud, Roma’s loudest fans, declared that “Totti is Roma,” as they also did in the mosaic in the stadium. As the entire Italian capital city embodied in one man, his eternal ”
From two-year-olds to 80-year-old pensioners, everyone was there for Totti. With the Curva Sud, Roma’s loudest fans, declared that “Totti is Roma,” as they also did in the mosaic in the stadium. The entire Italian capital city embodied in one man, his eternal “Gladiatore“.
As the last match of the season was set to take place against the humble Genoa, the entire city was a festival dedicated to Totti. With buses and planes displaying “Thanks, Captain” and support messages, statues and memorabilia footage were displayed. Everything was set in order to honor the #10. Inside the Stadio Olimpico, there was also a party, with it being sold out for the first time in many years. Since no one will miss the chance to see Totti’s final game, despite him not being in the starting XI. Roma still needed one more win to be certain of second place and ensure a direct spot in the Champions League. Despite being a humble club Genoa wasn’t an easy rival.
The visitors took the lead in the third minute. The Edin Dzeko soon grabbed an equalizer for Roma before half-time. Then Totti made his entrance after under 10 minutes of the second half were played. This cost the hosts some momentum, as the experienced Totti replaced pacey Mohamed Salah. Still, he showed some glimpses of class that made him the legend he is. Perhaps he would even have had a goal, but it was Daniele De Rossie the one who took net the penalty kick in the 75th minute. It was Genoa who equalized then, through Darko Lazovic. Fatal for Roma, as Napoli bagged a comfortable win at Sampdoria, leaving the capital team falling into third. Everything was set to turn Totti’s farewell into a fairytale. But it was not him but Diego Perotti who got the 90th-minute winner, making The Stadio Olimpico erupted with joy.
Then it was time for tears
The tears would follow soon afterward. Totti was granted a guard of honor by his team-mates, as many failed to hold their tears and emotion. Especially Italy’s teammate De Rossi, granting a touching moment. He took a slow lap of honor around in the company of his family through the stadium. Then he gave his final address. Since truly a chapter in the history of football and life ended. Totti has won the Scudetto in 2000-01, being runner-up 10 times since. Along with it, he has won two Coppe Italia, two
A Chapter of history has closed
Since truly a chapter in the history of football and life ended. Totti has won the Scudetto in 2000-01, being runner-up 10 times since. Along with it, he has won two Coppe Italia, two Supercoppe, and the World Cup. He has scored at least once in each of the last 23 Serie A seasons. Only overcame by Maldini who did it 25 times. He finishes as Serie A’s top scorer in his most prolific season in 2006-07 with 26 goals. Being also the second top scorer in the Italian league with 250 goals, only behind only record-holder Silvio Piola 274.
Finally, Totti’s appearances in all competitions at club level, 619 of which came in Serie A. He is level with Gianluigi Buffon (619) and only Paolo Maldini (647) has more. We still do not know, officially, what Totti will do next. Supposedly there is a deal for him to become a director of Roma. Others think that he will try luck at the MLS as many other greats have done, including Lampard, Gerrard, Henry and Kaka. At one point during his post-game monolog, he admitted candidly, “I’m afraid”. Logically since he spent 28 of his 40 years Totti has spent every day in Roma doing the same thing, training and kicking a ball around with his team-mates. He quite literally does not know what another life might look like.
Grazie Francesco Totti. 👑👏😢 pic.twitter.com/F0iNRfZ4jO
— BT Sport Football (@btsportfootball) May 28, 2017
Totti’s letter to Roma and his fans
“Thank you, Rome. To my mother and father, my brother, my relatives and my friends. Thank you to my wife and to my three children. I wanted to start from the end – from the goodbyes – because I don’t know if I’ll be able to read these lines. It is impossible, to sum u, 28 years in a few sentences. I’d like to do so with a song or poem, but I can’t write any. Over the years, I’ve tried to express myself through my feet, which have made everything simpler for me ever since I was a child. Speaking of childhood, can you guess what my favorite toy was? A football, of course! And it still is today.
At some point in life, you grow up – that’s what I’ve been told and that’s what time has decided. Damned time. Back on 17 June 2001, we all wanted time to pass a little more quickly. We couldn’t wait to hear the referee blow the final whistle. I still get goosebumps now when I think back to it.Today, time has come to tap me on the shoulder and say: ‘We have to grow up. As of tomorrow, you’ll be an adult. Take off those shorts and boots because starting today, you are a man. You can no longer enjoy the smell of the grass, the sun on your face as you bear down on the opposition’s goal, the adrenaline consuming you, the joy of celebrating.’
Over the past few months, I’ve asked myself why I’m being awoken from this dream. Imagine you’re a child having a good dream… and your mother wakes you up to go to school. You want to keep dreaming… you try to slip back into the dream but you never can. This time, it’s not a dream, but reality. And I can no longer slip back in. I want to dedicate this letter to all of you – to all the children that have supported me.
To the children of yesterday, who have grown up and become parents and to the children of today, who perhaps shout ‘Tottigol’. I’d like to think that for you, my career has become a fairytale for you to pass on. It’s really over now. I’m taking off that jersey for the final time. I’ll fold it away, even though I’m not ready to say ‘enough’ and perhaps I never will be. Forgive me for not giving interviews and clarifying my thoughts, but it’s not easy to turn out the light. I’m afraid. It’s not the same fear you feel when you’re standing in front of the goal, about to take a penalty.
This time, I can’t see what the future looks like through the holes of the net. Allow me to be afraid. This time, it’s me who needs you and the love that you’ve always shown me. With your support, I will succeed in turning the page and throwing myself into a new adventure.
Now, it’s time for me to thank all of the team-mates, coaches, directors, presidents and everyone who has worked alongside me during this time. To the fans and the Curva Sud, a guiding light for all Romans and Romanisti. Being born Roman and Romanisti is a privilege. Being the captain of this team is an honor. You are – and will always be – my life. I will no longer entertain you with my feet, but my heart will always be there with you. Now, I will go down the stairs and enter the dressing room that welcomed me as a child and that I now leave as a man. I’m proud and happy to have given you 28 years of love. I love you”.