Allow me to dig deeper into that. To put it bluntly: Our beloved Francesco is getting older. 38 is quite a feat for a professional football player. And we’re talking about an attacker here, no keeper where 40+ is not that rare (Zoff, Van der Sar, Ballotta, David James, Mondragon in the most recent World Cup,…). Totti has beaten the sands of time, the annosity for so long now. Just like Maldini and Javier Zanetti did. And ironically he’s looking fitter than ever and aged very well. Will 2016 be his final destination? Or the new stadium? Or Roma’s first Champions League win? Or a comeback with Italy’s National Team and accompanying win in the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia? Or the debut of his own blood, his son Christian Totti, with the Primavera? Only Francesco himself knows. He is the master of his body, he alone knows his limits. And those are high, very high.
Honestly, I never questioned Totti’s physique. Ever. Not at 28, not at 33 or 36. Not after his umpteenth injury or the umpeenth Real Madrid rumor. But for the first time in my life, my mind is troubled. Hazy clouds wander around in my head. 38 years, 23 Serie A seasons,... We’re getting closer to THAT day. As much as I wanted this piece to be a celebration with a positive vibe and unicorns-dressed-in-rainbows-feeling, I can’t help but look forward and not backwards. A man can only take so much. Surely, a severe injury would be too much at this age, even for the great Francesco, to overcome. Pray a thousand Hail Mary’s and a thousand more… We want him to end with a bang. A prize, a wonder goal, a packed and brand new stadium, something, anything. This man can’t leave the big stage unnoticed. His heart still beats for Roma like in 1993, Francesco remains a kid in the Olimpico. Just watch his reaction after Florenzi’s goal against Verona last Saturday.
And what about that other Roman, the man who has to step in his enormous shoes? Daniele De Rossi? How will he cope on the pitch without his father figure? A partner in crime ever since his Roman debut in October 2001 (Anderlecht in the Champions League). It will undoubtedly leave a huge void in the dressing room. Daniele can only do one thing: honor Totti and other captains like Losi, Giannini, Di Bartolomei and wear the armband while giving 110% on the field. Luckily Daniele has been giving his best for Roma for years now, the feeling of finally promoting from capitano futuro to capitano d’oggi will only work extra motivating for him. With Florenzi as wingman and Roman prodigy no2 instead of 3. In a way, it’s the circle of life. One career ends, another comes to fruition. But at what cost? How will the city, fanbase react to a Totti-less AS Roma for the first time since 1993? I’m sure I won’t have to explain the concept No Totti, no party to you.
I guess you know it by now. I love Totti. Hell, we all love Totti. We should be thankful he wears the red and yellow colors of Rome. Every single time. Every minute. Every new season. Celebrate his presence like there’s no tomorrow. Don’t ever forget that.
So what's next for our dear Francesco? Manchester City of course. And probably tens of other teams after that. But we must prepare ourselves. One day it will be over. Abruptly. Poof. Gone. One day CDT will be covered in pitch black darkness and tears will flow through the streets of Rome via Testaccio, Circo Massimo and the Vatican into the Tevere.
But please understand this my friends. When that horrible day finally arrives and puts us all in great despair, know there is always a bright and shining light at the end of the tunnel. It’s called the future. We shall embrace it. Together.