Earlier today, Roma announced that long-serving captain, Francesco Totti, will retire at the end of the season.
A legend of the game, Totti has played for European greats, Roma, for 24 years and has stayed loyal to Il Giallorossi despite interest from Real Madrid throughout his career.
‘The King of Rome’ made his debut on the 16th of March 1993, aged a mere 16 years old, as Roma dispatched Brescia 2-0.
Totti has been a mainstay in Roma’s side for years, only fading away during the 2010/2011 season, when injuries began to play their part in his career. 67% of Totti’s games missed due to injury occurred after the 2010/11 season*.
Totti is the last remaining player from the Roma side that won the Scudetto in the 2000/2001 season, only the third Italian top-flight title Roma have ever won, with a team featuring legends like Gabriel Batitstuta and Cafu.
Totti captained the title-winning team whilst under the stewardship of Fabio Capello.
Totti has captained Roma for 18-and-a-half years, after taking the armband in late October 1998 and has seen players like Vincenzo Montella, Hidetoshi Nakata and Antonio Cassano develop.
Totti finishes his career with an exemplary record, scoring 250 goals in 616 games coming from the left-wing (later as a second striker), as well as scoring 9 goals in 59 games for the Italian national team, starting the 2006 World Cup final.
Totti has made no attempt to hide his loyalty:
“Because I grew up playing for Roma and I want to die playing for Roma, because I have always been a Roma fan!”
Totti – in my opinion – has hung up his boots at the right time, as he is past his peak and can immediately go into the backroom staff and develop as a coach.
*stats started being recorded start of 2007/08 season.
35 players born after Totti’s debut: