Roma coach Luciano Spalletti expects club icon Francesco Totti to return to training on Monday after leaving him out of the matchday squad for Sunday’s 5-0 thrashing of Palermo.
In an interview with TG1 on Saturday, the 39-year-old forward said he wanted “more respect” than to be restricted to a substitutes’ role as his illustrious Roma career winds down.
The former Italy international has more than 700 appearances in a career-long association with the club but, with his contract set to expire in June, he suggested his rapport with Spalletti was minimal.
Spalletti, who replaced Rudi Garcia to begin a second spell in charge at the Stadio Olimpico last month, responded by dropping Totti and the player subsequently received a rousing reception from home supporters when he took his seat for the match in the stands.
“The Totti situation is in the past,” said Spalletti after watching Edin Dzeko and Mohamed Salah hit braces. “He was at the stadium and in the changing room. He’ll train with us tomorrow.
“It was just a moment of anger and discomfort and that can happen in certain circumstances. If [Roma’s] greatest post-war player makes these comments, it turns into a big deal.
“There are rules in place for managing the group and I had to deal with Totti’s reaction.”
“Based on what emerged from his comments, and the fact that all over the media there was only talk about this, I thought there was the danger of it affecting concentration after a Champions League game [Wednesday’s 2-0 loss to Real Madrid].
“I had asked him nicely, like a father, to help the transition from one fixture to another. There are roles. It might be abnormal, but this is how things are done here.
“If you treat one player in a certain way, you have to treat everyone equally, even if that player is Francesco Totti. I could not do otherwise.
“It’s true he is a great champion and I must have respect for him, but I must also have respect for all the players in the squad.”