Like it or not, we deal in rumors around here; some, like the thought of Zlatan Ibrahimovic taking a 50% pay cut to come to Rome, are too fantastical to come to fruition, while others, like the free agent acquisition of Petr Cech, are far too sensible to come true for a club as chaotic as Roma. A rumor's relative degree of veracity doesn't really matter; the entertainment and value is in the imagining, in the fantasy and in the debate.
There is one man around whom such rumors never swirl because his is the gravity that holds Roma's universe together. For those of us who dabble in physics, Francesco Totti is not only Roma's gravity, he is their electromagnetism, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force; the Giallorossi galaxy would collapse upon itself without his intelligence, his deft touch and his cheeky grin. And yes, there will come a day when we have to pen a eulogy for his career, but if there is a God in heaven, that day will come from his own accord.
It is in that vein we must discuss the rumor that Roma would somehow defy all logic and good graces by not offering Totti a contract renewal when his current deal expires in June 2016, when Totti will be three months shy of his 40th birthday. While Totti has only played 90 minutes on five occasions this season, in terms of per match and per 90 minute metrics, he remains among Roma's most effective players across a host of offensive categories, while ranking second on the club in goals scored and assists.
Francesco Totti in His 40s
Francesco Totti in His 40s
We've poured over Totti's statistics and age-defying performances many, many times in these spaces, and if the conclusion wasn't evident, let me state it once more. The man is a legend for a damn good reason; his work is quite literally unprecedented; he retires when he says so.
Knowing what we know about this Roma front office—their emphasis on winning hearts and minds and glorifying the history of the club—I find it hard to believe they'd be this short sighted. I mean, seriously, who in their right mind would deny the Francesco Totti a contract extension?
Never mind the fact that he's still the club's best player, he is the club. Roma would not have survived all the mismanagement and shortfalls they've endured over the past two decades without his presence. Had Totti migrated to Madrid lo those many years ago, would Roma have ever even sniffed the Champions League, let alone the top half of the table? Could they have kept the pressure on the Juventus', Inter Milan's and AC Milan's of the world without #10 guiding them all these years?
You'd have to a fucking moron to close the Olimpico doors to Francesco Totti without his consent.
No, the only way this rumor holds water is if Totti, like many of us, has been so beaten down by this season that's he's ready to move on to the next phase of his career, a club executive.
Totti's future is his own, managerial imprudence shouldn't even enter the equation. To do so would be a slap in the face; to Totti, to his legacy and to each and every one of us who only know this club exists because of Francesco Totti.