Francesco Totti is an icon at Roma but the club have not treated him well enough, according to Sampdoria president Massimo Ferrero.
Totti, now a true veteran at 40, has become an increasingly peripheral figure at Roma as he closes in on retirement at the end of the campaign, making just six starts in all competitions since the start of last season.
Since making his debut in March 1993, Totti has featured in a club-record 770 matches and leads their all-time scoring charts with 306 goals.
Having been so influential at Roma, Ferrero suggested the latter stages of Totti’s career have not been handled with due respect.
“I have the fortune of knowing Totti. He is one of the smartest guys in Italian football,” he told La Gazzetta dello Sport ahead of Sampdoria’s Serie A meeting with Roma on Sunday.
“I do not think he has been treated well, but it is not my business.
“Francesco is Roma. Roma is not [president James] Pallotta, Roma is Totti and when I see him I kiss him all over.”
Sampdoria released former Italy international Antonio Cassano on Wednesday, ending his third spell at the club.
Despite his advancing years, Ferrero believes Cassano can still pursue his professional career elsewhere.
“I’m happy for him, we fulfilled his wishes,” he said. “He’s a great champion and he can still be a useful player somewhere, but he can’t be part of our project.”
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