By Craig Turnbull
Unfortunately, all good things have to come to an end and that looks to be the case with Francesco Totti’s glittering career.
The 39-year-old is struggling with a thigh injury which has kept him out of action since September and his wife and Italian TV personality Ilari Blasi dropped the biggest hint yet that ‘Il Bimbo D’Oro’ (Golden Boy) is set to hang up his boots at the end of the season.
She told Italian magazine Oggi: “The time has come. Francesco is going to be 40 next year. He has enjoyed all this so much that I really think that right now he is desiring something else. But he will remain involved in football for sure.”
If that is proven to be true then it will bring down the curtain on an illustrious career of one of the greatest ever Italian footballers.
Totti is a rare talent; not only in the sense that very few defenders could live with him on the park but also his loyalty – which in football is seemingly a rare commodity these days – to the club he supported as a boy: Roma.
For 25 wonderful years, he has served the Giallorossi with distinction, wooing supporters with mesmerising talent, an abundance of skill and terrific goals.
He is the all-time top goalscorer at the club with 300 career goals to his name and is second in the all-time scoring charts in Serie A, with 244 goals, behind Silvio Piola.
But it isn’t just the amount of goals which has made Totti revered by fans and critics alike, it is the types of goals he scored: outrageous volleys, ferocious shots and the ‘Cucchiaio’ meaning chipped goal which quickly became his trademark; Totti certainly didn’t do ordinary.
Tidy flicks and tricks were also part of his weaponry and he had lazer-accurate passing, vision and awareness of those around him which afforded him that extra yard of space to create chances for his team-mates.
Given the talent he possessed critics might highlight that a Serie A title, two Coppa Italias and two Supercoppa Italianas is a meagre return for someone so gifted and so special and that his loyalty to Roma was at the expense of more silverware.
However, that would overlook the strong bond he had with the club, which was more than reciprocated by the fans who worshipped him.
“Roma is everything to me, everything a person can want: passion, love, joy – the team I have always supported and always will,” he once told Uefa’s official website.
A World Cup winner with Italy, he is one of the greatest of his generation. ‘The King of Rome’ may soon be hanging up his crown but in the hearts and minds of Roma fans his spirit will play on.