The beautiful game of football is starting to lose its appreciation of little things.
The life of one Francesco Totti is an exciting collection of little things – some of which left him undervalued in comparison to more trophy-laden contemporaries – a bundle of joy for every AS Roma fan, who has watched a scrawny little boy transform in the King of Rome with utter sense of pride.
The AS Roma legendary captain was born in 1976.
Thirteen years later, with a wide smile on his face, young Totti was pictured in an AS Roma shirt for the first time ever, never even imagining that exact moment will commence his journey into history. Into a legend.
Forever thankful to his mother, who turned down a lucrative and financially extremely tempting offer from AC Milan all that her little boy could join his hometown club, Francesco Totti started realizing his dream in that 1989.
It took him four years to break into the first-team, and on 28th March 1993, under the guidance of late Serbian tactician Vujadin Boskov – a visionary – the legend was born.
At the age of 16, Francesco Totti came on in the 87th minute of the game in Brescia, replacing Ruggero Rizzitelli on the pitch. Having tasted the sweet scent of success and having picked up the smell of Roman pride, Francesco Totti never looked back, going on to become the captain of his club in 1998.
The captain’s armband has blended with his skin, helping Francesco Totti to become one of Europe football’s greatest player. One of the finest footballers to ever grace a football pitch, Totti did not bring his club too many trophies and titles, but his legacy is much more unique and everlasting.
The King of Rome came a long way from being the Il Bimbo d’Oro (Golden Boy) of physique and psyche as ones of the most intriguing in the football game.
The Roma captain still remains to this date and his 40 years of age a player capable of creating something out of nothing, which is arguably the biggest part of his legacy. On far too many occasions did he carry the entire team on his shoulders with his invention, skill and unpredictability.
He remains the focal point of his club even when he sits on the bench with his eyebrows dropped in protest and when he is leading the attack with an ease of a 20-year-old. A classic No. 10 with a cannon in his leg, Totti is as versatile as it gets. Technically gifted, he was able to play anywhere he wanted and anywhere some of his coaches didn’t want him to be.
But that is the beauty of the King and his legacy of elegance, style and grace.
His heritage is not to be found in the stats columns despite the fact he played 778 matches in his career and score 307 goals. Nor is it hidden in that sole Serie A title he won under the guidance of Fabio Capello and generous help from Gabriel Batistuta and other Roma legends of the time. Two Coppa Italia titles are not it as well, FIFA World Cup title from 2006 neither.
Numbers and records are there to be crushed and broken, trophies to be passed on from hand to hand. In the end, the picture you remember somebody by is the only memory you will have. And in my case, Francesco Totti with a phone in his hand, doing selfies with Roma fans speaks much more of his legacy and AS Roma relationship than any of the afore-listed numbers.
The numbers in those stats columns keep decreasing and following a season during which he only made 13 Serie A appearances, only two of which were starts, Francesco Totti is in the similar situation today.
Eleven games, one start and two goals might be interpreted as not much of an influence and a presence, but the King of Rome remains one of the most crucial members of Luciano Spalletti’s team.
Totti is lethal in small doses, like the most vicious venom there is.
And with the season slowly winding down and dreams of Scudetto fading away, Francesco Totti is pondering his future. He has suggested that the end is near and that he needs to think about his future which will, in no doubt, be rested in Roma’s hands.
Totti could retire at the end of the season and no one would be surprised. The 40-year-old Roma legend’s contract is up at the current campaign, but there is another one on the table. It might not be the one he hoped to get, but Totti will give it a serious consideration.
Giallorossi want their King to sit in a throne and watch down on his team as a club director.
As hard as it is to imagine Francesco Totti in a chair and a pen in his hand, such an end to a glorious career would be fit of a King.
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