Francesco Totti, anthology of a champion
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«Immediately after Francesco Totti’s departure from the Roma football team, we wanted to retrace what the red and yellow captain represented for every football fans, and we did so in 24 stages.»
The moment has arrived. After a long career, made of exceptional matches and many goals, Francesco Totti greets Roma, preparing for a new career and a new chapter. In the day after his farewell to Roma, we prepared a small anthology of the “Giallorossi” (the yellow and reds) champion.
A for Amore (Love): the visceral love for Rome and “his” Rome, to which Francesco Totti (official site) has linked his name throughout his football career. It’s a reciprocated love, which the Giallorossi fans have felt for their long-lived captain for 25 years, making him the eighth king of their centuries-old history.
B for Barzellette (Jokes): just like those that the Roman captain has told in a fun book, showing great self-irony and desire to be made fun of, human qualities less and less present in a world – that of football – poisoned by false gods and continuous scandals. Tears, but not only: in his nearly thirty year career, Francesco Totti has also given, if not above all, smiles, both to hisfans and to the less fortunate children, donating all the proceeds of this small collection to charity.
C for Cucchiaio (Spoon): a technical gesture of a dazzling beauty, with which Francesco Totti has delighted fans around the world, scoring goals as beautiful as they are important. On 29th June 2000, for example, in the margins of an incredible semi-final against the Netherlands, a very young Francesco Totti scored a very heavy penalty, contributing decisively to the passage of the Italians’ turn. Rome enjoyed it, but luckily Italy too had its share of Totti.
D for Dieci (Ten): more than a number, 10 is an icon, one that belongs only to the biggest players in the world of football. Maradona, Baggio, Del Piero: all the football champions wore this shirt, giving them a halo of uniqueness and mysticism. An aura that Francesco Totti has made his own, making the dreams of all fans come true: wearing the number 10 of his favorite team. No, such stories do not happen only in fairy tales, even if Totti’s football life is the closest you can get to a real fairy tale.
E for Empoli: the team against which Francesco Totti’s history could have changed radically. On 19 February 2006, in fact, after a disjointed intervention by Vaniglia, Empoli’s the central defender, Totti’s career suffered a severe blow, with the fracture of the fibula that put his participation in the World Cup at risk. But Totti, once again, proved stronger than everything and everyone, returning just in time for the successful expedition in Germany. Totti proved to be a champion of strength and courage, even in the most difficult moments.
F for Foggia: or, allow us the joke, as a first goal. In fact it is against this team from Puglia that Francesco Totti scored the first goal in the A Series, beating an innocent Mancini with a left-handed razor hit. A bit of a bitter first final result (1-1) but, at the same time, the beginning of a real fairytale, which led Totti to inflate the opponent’s goal another 306 times, all with the Giallorossi AS Roma shirt.
G for Golden Foot: one of the many individual awards won by the Roman captain, who in 2010 saw the shape of his feet on the Hollywood Boulevard of the Principality of Monaco, in a sort of Walk of Fame that, in previous years, had hosted other great champions of world football, like Baggio, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Del Piero. A pair of Golden feet with which Totti has delighted all lovers of football, Romanists and more.
H for Helsinki: the city that saw Francesco Totti score his 6th goal with the Italian national shirt. A beautiful net hit, which allowed the Azzurri to put down a match valid for qualifying for the 2004 Europeans against Finland. A signature for a non-simple game, which Italy closed definitively only in the second half, thanks to the network of another great champion, the friend / rival of a thousand battles, Alex Del Piero.
I for Ilary: the only woman, along with Mamma Fiorella, of Francesco Totti’s life. One of the most loved and envied couples in Italy, which sees together one of the greatest players on the world scene and Ilary Blasi, a showgirl and very successful presenter. After thei marriage on June 19, 2005, from the union of Totti and Ilary 3 kids were born: Cristian (06-11-05), Chanel (13-05-07) and Isabel (10-03-16). With regards to the wedding, perhaps not everyone knows that the ceremony was broadcast by Sky, and that all proceeds were then donated to charity.
J for Juventus: the eternal rival in many games, against which Francesco Totti almost always gave his best. An example dates back to February 2004, when Totti and Rome humiliated the “Old Lady”, beaten with an eloquent 4-0. Stars of the evening were Antonio Cassano and the Giallorossi captain, with their penalty goals and protagonists, together with Tudor, of a show that drove all the Roman fans crazy with joy. At the end of the match, in fact, after a protest by the Croatian defender, Totti first brought the index finger to his mouth to silence the player and then showed the other 4 fingers (as the goals suffered by Juventus), and finally “invited” the Bianconeri (Juventus players) to leave, with a typically Roman gesture.A one man show.
K for Kaiserslautern: is June 26, 2006,the day of the final round of the German World Cup. Italy was playing with one man down (Materazzi was expelled) and struggled to get rid of a strong Australia, which for a full 93 minutes gave a tough time to the Italians, who very tired by the heat and were a bit confused. A minute from the final whistle, however, Grosso managed to gain a penalty kick, the one that could catapult Italy directly to the quarterfinals, without having to go through the overtime, or worse still, through the lottery of penalties. For an interminable amount of time nobody seemed to want to take such a big responsibility. Nobody, except for Totti, who with a right hit crossed Schwarzer, writing a fundamental chapter of the triumphant Italian journey in German soil.
L for Lazio: like Juventus, Lazio was also the enemy of a thousand battles, against which Francesco Totti scored 11 goals, becoming the most prolific footballer (along with Da Costa) of the Capital’s Derby. It’s hard to explain what a derby represents for Roman football players and fans, a game seen all over the world, that every year keeps millions of TV viewers attached to the TV. It’s an explosive mix of hymns, teasing and choreography, because the Derby is not just a game. There are many memories related to this challenge, but perhaps none of these is more significant than the double goal scored on 11 January 2015, when Totti, now on the 40 year old threshold, managed to draw alone a haunted match, sealing an incredible afternoon with an iconic selfie, which went down in the history of the Derby and for years to follow.
M for Mondiale (World): like the one that Francesco Totti won, as a protagonist, wearing the national team shirt in 2006. A world championship that has made millions of Italians rejoice and cry, glued to every screen to follow the deeds and the path of coach Lippi’s men. As anticipated earlier, Totti wrote a very important page of the history of that World, but the most beautiful image is certainly the picture that represents him next to the World Cup, where there is a Totti in all his essence. From the happiness of a trophy that only a few can boast, to the “funny” face of a simple man in his greatness, who has never really stopped in feeling like a kid and playing around a bit.
N for Naples: another team amongst the favorite victims of the Giallorossi captain, against whom he has scored 6 goals, some of which were decisive for the Roma football season. One of the most beautiful certainly arrived on October 4 (coincidentally on the day of Saint Francesco) 2009, when the Romanist player, with a precise right strike he blinded De Sanctis, giving Roma 3 points that were fundamental for the race to the top floors of the standings. It was a goal as beautiful as it was painful, because immediately after the celebrations for the goal Francesco Totti is forced out of the field, “bent” by a discomfort to the knee which had been operated once. Fear and anger that the Giallorossi 10 player challenged into the right stimuli, returning, once again, stronger than before.
O for the Olympic (stadium): the stadium that welcomed him as a child and which, after 25 years, let him go away as a man. More than a sports facility, the Olympic stadium is a home for Francesco Totti, who has played the most beautiful games of his career in this stadium, delighting the Giallorossi audience and fans from all over Italy. Moments of great joy (2000-2001 championship) as well as harrowing ones (the farewell after Roma-Genoa of 2016-2017), in this stadium Totti has experiences all the possible sensations, showing “the” South Curve the most human and genuine side of his being a footballer. And why not, football is not just a game.
P for Parma: the team against which Francesco Totti has achieved one of the heaviest goals of his career, opening the scoring in the Rome-Parma that was worth the Scudetto. A terrifying right strike against which a very young Buffon could do nothing, kicking off the Giallorossi’s goal. A goal that made all the Giallorossi public explode with joy, who went back to celebrating a championship after waiting 18 years. That was coach Capello’s, Batistuta and Montella’s Roma, but most of all it was Totti’s Roma, the Porta Metronia Gladiator who had brought the Giallorossi company back to the top of Italy.
Q for Quattro (Four): the numbers of cups raised in the sky by Francesco Totti, who won 2 Italian Cups and 2 Italian Supercups with the Roma jersey. A list of prizes that is not excessice, but which contains all the love of this player for his favorite team. Despite the offers received by the biggest clubs in the world (Real Madrid and AC Milan just to name a few), Totti always and only chose Rome, preferring the love of his people to the money and trophies that he could have collected elsewhere.
R for Rome: a combination, that between Rome and Francesco Totti, difficult to explain. IN fact, the love between the Giallorossi people and their captain is very very deep. So, in order to avoiding becoming trivial, we rely on the words that Totti himself wrote to The Players’ Tribune, in a letter that became a symbol of the union between the Giallorossi captain and Roma.
«Many people ask me, why did you spend your whole life in Rome?
Rome represents my family, my friends, the people I love. Rome is the sea, the mountains, the monuments.
Rome, of course, is also the romans.
Rome is yellow and red.
Rome, for me, is the world.
This football Club and this city have been all my life.
S for Sampdoria: during a very long career, Francesco Totti scored many goals (307 with the Roma jersey), some of which are simply fantastic. One of these is certainly the one made at Sampdoria on November 26, 2006. A left-wing on the cross by Cassetti that triggered the entire Ferraris audience, simply entranced by the stroke of the Giallorossi number 10. A goal of a truly blinding beauty, and, according to many, the most precious gem of a career full of spectacular plays and beautiful goals. Because Totti is more than a footballer, he is, much more simply, a balloon artist.
T for Time: what seemed, at least until a few days ago, to have magically stopped for Totti. In fact, it was neither the 40 years of age nor an athletic freshness that couldn’t match the earlier days managed to obscure his talent: on the contrary, they have done nothing but underline Totti’s incredible technical and physical qualities. Torino knows something about it: on April 20, 2016, the game was taken away from them by the Roman star, even though it seemed that the match had already been won by them. In less than 3 minutes, in fact, Totti achieved two key goals, dragging Rome to that long cherished 3rd place.
U for Unique: just like the adjective that Francesco Totti dedicated to his wife Ilary, after a wonderful goal on a lob against Peruzzi. It was March 10, 2002 and Roma, fresh from winning the Scudetto, swept away Lazio with a sensational 1-5 final. With his 4 goals Montella was a great protagonist but, as anticipated, even Totti came along, who at 20 minutes from the end scored one of his most beautiful goals. The goal was goal dedicated to his wife Ilary: under the Roma shirt Totti wore another one with a celebrative writing on it saying “6 unica”(You’re unique). Unique as Ilary Blasi, and unique as the team with which Totti has played, AS Roma.
V for Vito Scala: more than a physical trainer, Vito is a fraternal friend, who has followed Francesco Totti since the beginning of his career, accompanying him in good and bad luck. A trusted advisor on which Totti has placed his own certainties and his physical condition, receiving, with hindsight, many benefits. If the Giallorossi captain has become an icon of the football world it is also due to the advice and the “hands” of Vito Scala.
Y for Yogurt: the food that for 4 months represented Totti’s breakfast, who had to maintain an ideal weight in view of the World Cup in Germany. After the injury against Empoli, in fact, Totti started an incredible race against time, attempting a quick recovery for the German world championships. In addition to strengthening exercises, which began almost immediately after the intervention, Francesco Totti followed a very strict diet, which for 4 months included only one yogurt for breakfast. Sacrifices and willpower: Totti has become Totti thanks to this too!
Z for Zeman: the coach who best valued him, building all his teams around this pure talent. A solid relationship born in 1998, when the Bohemian technician arrived for the first time on the benches of AS Roma. A season, that of ’98 -’99, in which Francesco Totti grew a lot, both from a physical and psychological point of view, showing some glimpses of his infinite class. The World Cup in France is also the year in which Francesco Totti gains the “10”, the shirt number to which the Giallorossi captain will be tied for the entire duration of his career. The relationship between Zeman and Totti, however, goes far beyond a simple shirt number, just as the Bohemian technician was able to demonstrate in each of his interviews on TV and on newspapers: «The five best Italian footballers? Totti, Totti, Totti, Totti and Totti»
We could not conclude in any other way than with his farewell letter, the one that Francesco Totti wrote to his fans, saying goodbye once again, for the last time, after the Roma-Genoa match.
«Here we are; this is the moment that I hoped would never come. I wrote, we wrote a letter for you, I do not know if I can read it, but I will try. if I don’t finish it, my daughter Chanel will do it for me: she cannot wait to read it. Thank you Rome, thank you mum and dad, thanks to my brother, my relatives, my friends, my wife and my three children. I wanted to start by saying goodbye because I do not know if I will be able to read these few lines. It is impossible to tell 28 years of history in a few sentences. I’d like to do it with songs or poems. Do you know what was my favorite toy? the ball, and it is still the case, but at some point in life you become a grown up. This is what they told me, and time decided for me. Damn time… It’s the same time that we wanted to have passed quickly on june 17, 2001. We couldn’t wait to hear the referee whistle three times. Today this time has knocked on my shoulders and told me tomorrow you will grow up, take off your boots because from today you are a man and you won’t be able to smell the grass so closely, the sun in your face, the adrenaline that consumes you and the satisfaction of exulting. I asked myself in these months why they are waking me up from this dream. You know when you’re a child and you’re dreaming of something beautiful, and your mother wakes you up to go to school? While you want to keep sleeping and try to get the thread of that story and you never succeed? This time it was not a dream, but reality. I want to dedicate this letter to all of you, to the children who cheered for me, and to those who today have become fathers and still shout “Totti goal”. I like to think that my career is for you a story to tell. I take off my shirt for the last time, I bend it for good even if I’m not ready to call it quits, and maybe I’ll never be. Excuse me if at this time I have not clarified my thoughts but turning off the light is not easy, now I’m afraid, It’s not the same thing you feel in front of the goal. Allow me a little fear, this time i need you and your warmth, what you have always shown me. Only with your affection I will be able to throw myself into a new adventure. I want to thank all the people who have worked alongside me in these years, the fans, the Curva Sud, a reference for us romans and Roma fans. Being born romans and Roma fans is a privilege, being the Captain of this team was an honor, you are and you will always be in my life. I will stop feeling excited with my feet but my heart will always be with you. Now I go downstairs, enter the locker room that welcomed me when i was a child, and that i now leave being a man. I am proud and happy to have given you 28 years of love, I love you!».
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