Francesco Totti has revealed that AC Milan tried to sign him as a 13-year-old – but his mother rejected the approach.
The Roma stalwart, who is playing in his 25th season for the Giallorossi after signing a one-year contract extension at the club, also admitted he nearly left Stadio Olimpico for Real Madrid in 2004, but was persuaded to stay after discussions with his family and the Serie A side’s former president Franco Sensi.
Totti has been promised the role of technical director when the 2016-17 season comes to an end and the curtain falls on a one-club career that began in 1989, when he joined Roma’s youth ranks at the age of 13.
That career could have taken a different course entirely had it not been for the insistence of Totti’s mother, Fiorella, that he should play for Roma.
“When I was 13, there was a knock at our door,” Totti told The Players’ Tribune.
“The men from AC Milan were asking me to join their football club. An opportunity to make it with a big Italian club. What would I choose?
“Well, it was not my decision, of course. My mamma was the boss. She still is the boss. And she was rather attached to her boys, let’s say. She did not want me to leave home for fear that something might happen.
“No, no, she told the directors. That’s all she had to say.
“It was hard saying no to AC Milan. It would have meant a lot of money for our family. But my mother taught me a lesson that day: your home is the most important thing in life.
“Just a few weeks later, after being scouted at one of my youth matches, Roma made me an offer. I was going to wear the yellow and red.”
The Roma captain has since made more than 600 Serie A appearances for the club and he has won the Scudetto, as well as two Coppa Italia titles and the Supercoppa Italiana on two occasions.
Totti said he was close to leaving the club at the end of the 2003-04 season, in which he scored 20 goals to help Roma finish second to Milan in the title race.
“There was even a moment 12 years ago when I thought about leaving Roma for Real Madrid,” the 39-year-old explained.
“When a very successful team, perhaps the strongest in the world, asks you to join, you start to think about what life might be like elsewhere. I had talks with the president of Roma, and that made a difference. But in the end, the talk I had with my family reminded me what life is about.
“Home is everything.”