Roma forward Francesco Totti has played down suggestions he is winding down his playing days.
The former Italy international has spent the entirety of his career with the capital club, racking up over 500 appearances since 1992 and becoming their all-time top goalscorer in the process.
He seemed to have dispelled fears he was close to retirement after penning a new five-year contract in 2009, but has only two years remaining on his deal.
Yet Totti is refusing to look too far ahead into the future, saying he is happy to take each match as it comes.
“For me, it’s just football,” he told TV Sorrisi e Canzoni. “I always think about the next game.
“Maybe when I retire, I will figure something out to warmly greet everyone for their support, but now it is too early to think about it.”
Totti then recollected on his nickname ‘Il Gladiatore’ and the time he met Pope John Paul II.
“It’s true, I have been called Gladiator in Rome, but I think our courage is not linked to our roles or fame,” he said.
“Rather, we work for the things we believe in and do our best for ourselves and our loved ones every day.
“The most real and intense encounter of my life? Meeting Pope John Paul II. I cannot forget his gentle eyes and the feeling of peace that he seemed to exert.”