It’s hard to believe that Francesco Totti has turned 40 years old. Actually, it’s more difficult for me to grasp that I have been able to witness every single season of his career and it’s now arriving at the point where it will soon be over. Finding the proper words to express what Totti has meant to me personally as a Roma fan is certainly a tough task, but I’ll try my best to be brief and concise.
I don’t care who you support, whether it’s an Italian club like Juve (I’m sure at this point it will turn into a Totti versus Del Piero debate since they can’t help themselves even though the fans of the other 19 clubs in Serie A know who was better) or a club abroad, there is no doubting the footballing prowess of the Totti. To use a recent quote from Crotone manager Davide Nicola: “Totti is always a minute ahead of everybody else in the match” – for me, the perfect summation of the captain as a footballer. Even at the tender age of 40, Totti has the silky touch and vision that players in their prime wish they had. He always had this. I’m convinced he always will. His game has aged like a fine wine and he continues to astonish teammates, fans, and even his manager each time he steps on to the pitch.
It’s this kind of magic that always drew me to Totti. His magical touch. His ability to pull off the impossible, to carry Roma – the club, the city. Everything. It’s daunting to look back and think about how often we, myself included, took him for granted. Even during the club’s darkest moments, such as the late 90’s, there was always Totti. Managers have come and gone, but again, Totti was always there: willing to take the brunt of the criticism when the team struggled and unafraid of putting the team on his back when needed.
As the lights begin to dim on the career of Totti, it certainly fills me with a bit of sadness. He’s certainly one of the last player of a distinct generation: la bandiera. It was never about money, it was never about chasing trophies…because we all know he could’ve had plenty of both in Madrid. So I’ll take this chance to both salute and thank Francesco Totti for all he has given me and to Roma fans everywhere. Auguri Capitano!