If you're currently lurking around the internet--and since you're here, I'll assume that's a yes--you've no doubt seen the bombshell just dropped by none other than Francesco Totti. Having been relegated to a bit role under Rudi Garcia at the start of the season (yes, injuries played a role), we hoped that with the return of Luciano Spalletti, under whom Totti experienced near unparallelled success, Totti's role would increase to at least a regular rotation player.
While Totti's injuries have lingered through the winter, he's been deemed fit for duty in recent weeks, but has inexplicably remained on the bench behind Edin Dzeko and/or Diego Perotti, a fact that has the King of Rome a bit miffed. Speaking to RAI, Totti spoke about his current role and its implications for the rest of his career, which he insinuates isn't over, or at least shouldn't be:
I still feel like a player who is physically in good shape and I want to play. The injury is behind me now and if I don't play it is purely down to a tactical decision.
I can't stay at Roma like this. It hurts to be on the bench. I understand at my age that I play less, but ending my career like this is bad for me as a man and what I've given to Roma. I demand more respect for all I've done here.
Can't really fault Totti for any of these statements, especially not when he admits that his age should lead to a reduction in minutes, and, as last season proved, he's still one of the leagues most efficient forwards, particularly when deployed in 30-45 minute bursts.
Totti went on to speak about the current state of his relationship with Spalletti:
What is my rapport like with Spalletti? We say ‘good morning' and ‘good evening.' That's it. He said such nice things in the papers, but not to my face.
I respect him as a Coach and think he has what it takes to remain at Roma
Yikes. I suppose we always assumed, given their past success together, that Spalletti and Totti would be thick as thieves, but this news, if indeed true, is a bit disturbing. I just shouted this out on Twitter, but it bears repeating: We knew at some point in time a Roma manager would have to make the tough decision, to sit Totti down for the good of the club, a task that would require the most iron of constitutions and largest of balls, both of which Spalletti appears to have in spades.
But is that what's really going on here? Is Totti really ready to be put out to pasture? I don't think so, especially not when you look at how excellent he was in a reserve role last season, but this news is simply too big to ignore or dismiss as simple hearsay.
So, what gives? Is this just mounting frustration on Totti's part? The latest in standard AS Roma melodrama? Will this all be ameliorated if he gets the rumored start tomorrow?
One thing is for certain, whoever makes the call on Totti's future, be it Spalletti or James Pallotta, better do so with the utmost respect. If they think a silent Curva Sud is bad, just wait and see what happens if they mistreat Totti.
God save us all.