Francesco Totti is as much an icon of Rome as the Colosseum and St. Peter’s Basilica, according to former Roma head coach Claudio Ranieri.
The veteran forward scored his 250th Serie A goal in the 3-1 loss to Torino on September 25, just two days before he celebrated his 40th birthday in what is his 25th senior season with the club.
Only Silvio Piola (274) has scored more goals in Italy’s top flight, while heralded former AC Milan and Inter captains Paolo Maldini and Javier Zanetti are the only players to have made more than Totti’s 605 Serie A appearances.
Totti, a World Cup-winner with Italy in 2006, is expected to retire at the end of the season, but Ranieri believes his former skipper still has plenty to offer.
“There’s the Colosseum, St Peter’s and then there is Francesco Totti,” said the Leicester City manager, speaking after receiving an award in the Italian capital.
“As long as he has fun – and that’s one of the things that’s kept him going for so many years – why stop?”
Ranieri, who lost out to Jose Mourinho’s Inter by just two points in the 2009-10 title race, believes does not believe that Roma or any other side are likely to stop champions Juventus from winning a sixth title in a row.
“[Napoli boss] Maurizio Sarri is right,” he said. “Juventus are on a different planet.
“He’s right because he’s honest and he tells the truth – that doesn’t mean he does not believe in his players and that he won’t do everything to beat them [Juve]. They’ll try to beat them, as will Roma.”