Opinion

Francesco Totti: A dedicated leader whose like no longer exists

AS Roma's forward Francesco Totti looks on as he plays against Udinese during their Serie A football match in Rome's Olympic Stadium on November 20, 2010. AFP PHOTO / Filippo MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP via Getty Images)
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In the 87th minute of Roma’s 2-0 triumph over Brescia at the Stadio Olimpico on March 28, 1993, 16-year-old Totti was brought on by coach Vujadin Boskov to replace Ruggiero Rizzitelli. He only made two substitute appearances for Roma in his debut season, but he stayed with the Giallorossi for the next 24 years before retiring at the end of the 2016–17 season. March 28, 2023, marked the 30th anniversary of his Roma debut.

Totti scored 307 goals and dished out 206 assists in the 786 games he played for Roma, ranking him third all-time in Serie A appearances and third all-time in total games. The Italian forward won many awards throughout his career and was recognised for his dedication and leadership qualities, which are rare in today’s football world.

Totti’s abilities have undoubtedly impacted the team positively, but Roma is left without such a star player after hanging up his boots. In this text, we discuss the retired footballer’s career, his accomplishments, and why it will be hard for Roma to find players with similar qualities.

His unique quality accompanied Totti’s loyalty

Throughout his professional football career, the Italian Francesco Totti played for only one team – Roma. His loyalty and dedication to the team were remarkable, and he once noted that winning one title with Roma would mean more than winning 10 with Real Madrid or Juventus. He did win one title with Roma when the club emerged victorious in the 2001 Serie A, but that was only the tip of the iceberg regarding his accomplishments.

After making his debut in 1993, the footballer appeared in more games and scored his first goal in September 1994. The match was against Foggia, and his goal was the only one achieved in the game. The player won eleven Oscar del Calcio awards from the Italian Footballers’ Association, the 2007 European Golden Shoe, and the 2010 Golden Foot.

Totti was the team’s central figure; he ran the midfield, helped the strikers, and constantly assisted the defence. He was effective up close and a lethal player from a distance. He also had excellent field vision and was frequently in the right place at the right time to assist or score goals at the right time. His most impressive ability, however, was his passing.

Francesco was not perfect; he had his flaws. He lost a lot of playing time due to his stubbornness, first at Euro 2004 and again in the spring of 2006 when he suffered a severe ankle injury (though he was still on the team in the tournament). His troublesome character has often been an obstacle to his further development, as there were many times that his out-of-competition behaviour has been the subject of comment and criticism.

Can Roma find such a dedicated and top-class player like Totti?

Regardless of his flaws, Totti is an icon in the world of Italian football, one that could fill in as a trequartista, false nine, or winger, depending on the situation. In fact, many UK bookies offered odds for the matches he played, though there were restrictions on sports betting at UKGC-licensed sites. Not anymore! To avoid these restrictions, you can find accurate tips to bypass gamstop via Nongamstopbetsites.com websites.

Punters still favour Roma because they sincerely hope the team might be lucky enough to get another player as dedicated and talented as Totti—especially a prolific scorer with exceptional ball control, vision, creativity, and passing range. Experts also lauded his ability to control the game’s tempo and create goal-scoring opportunities for his teammates with his trademark no-look passes and backheels.

His versatility and abilities have led some to label him a tireless, selfless, and dynamic centre-forward. Totti, well-known for his work rate, longevity, and willingness to contribute defensively, improved his athleticism while working with Zeman. To keep up with the tempo of modern football, he enrolled in a muscle-building programme, sacrificing some of his natural speed and agility in exchange for increased stamina, fitness, strength, and shooting power.

Totti’s honours, gameplay, and personality have inspired his teammates, including Bruno Peres, who hoped to surpass the captain’s achievements one day. It would be wonderful if a player with Totti’s potential appeared on the team, but such an occurrence is improbable, and here’s why.

The current football landscape has no room for players like Totti

Serie A boasts an annual revenue of over €5 billion, a value of barely over €1 billion in 2010 and even lower in 2001. This massive revenue is thanks to the explosion of the league’s popularity in recent years. Basically, teams have more than enough money to spend on players, and talented footballers aim to make the most of their careers and earn as much as possible. This mentality is very different from that of footballers in Totti’s era.

Totti noted that playing football was out of love in his time, but today it’s all business. Players gun for clubs that can pay the most, not thinking about their passion for the sport or their loyalty to their team. While this is not a terrible mentality, it’s the main reason why Roma would possibly struggle to find another player as loyal as Totti.

This kind of thinking isn’t exclusive to players; coaches and the managerial body also share the same mindset. Club owners fire at will, and coaches come onto the boards of clubs that can pay the most. Simply put, the current football landscape doesn’t create room for such dedication. Of course, the love of football remains a motivation for many players and coaches, but loyalty and commitment go to the team with the highest bid.

So, yes, Totti was an incredible player whose career is a motivation for rising stars. Still, these upcoming footballers look to have better achievements than him, a different dedication than he showed for Roma. The era of one-club men is dying, and it would take more than luck for Roma to find a player with the engrossment that matches Totti’s.

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