If you're confused and wondering why the Chiesa di Totti has been inordinately Totti-centric lately, well, I'm afraid you need a lesson in semantics. Sarcasm aside, the flood of articles lately comes from a curious place; the collision of emotion and logic. For months now, we've stressed about and over analyzed Roma's utilization of Francesco Totti, throwing equal parts head and heart into the question.
The strange part, and some might say soothing, was that, for most of the season, it was largely an academic debate. Thanks to some nervy hamstrings, Totti was all but shelved earlier in the season (not that Rudi Garcia was using him once he returned), while Luciano Spalletti's return brought with it a new trio of attackers, who had revitalized the squad into a dynamic and potent offensive threat, so there was simply no room for Totti. It didn't sit quite right with you, but the team was winning and it's hard to argue with results.
But then Totti got his chances, miniscule though they may have been, and reminded us who was king of the beach in Serie A. After rescuing draws from the jaws of defeat in successive weeks, Totti's performance against Torino midweek was one for the ages. Shaking off 85 minutes of malaise, Totti single handedly won the match in all of 90 seconds, eliciting cheers, screams and tears from the teeming masses.
With club President James Pallotta's continued reticence to offer the 39-year-old a new contract, the Roma faithful are on a precipice--the elation of a Totti extension countered by the potential fomenting of insurrection should his legacy be besmirched.
In light of this tension, Francesco Totti issued an imperial decree:
The Great Beauty of Roma and Rome, just like the fairy tale we experienced on Wednesday night at the stadium, represent something that belongs uniquely to the fans of this shirt, as I am and you are.
My goals helped gain victory for the team and the club I have always loved. This must unite and not divide.
On Monday there will be a big game and for me, as always, only one thing matters: celebrating with my teammates, the Coach, the club and our unique fans.
Something that belongs uniquely to the fans of this shirt, as I am and you are.
I've spent countless hours trying to surmise what's going on here, feebly attempting to get at and even understand the heart of the matter, but there it is--Francesco Totti, in a matter of 16 words, said what I, nor anyone, ever could. And that simple eloquence, that brevity, and that sincerity is precisely what makes Francesco Totti so special, so unique, and so loved--it's what makes him one of us.
And the longer this drama drags on, the less I'm inclined to believe the powers that be realize that, much to their own peril, which makes you wonder--are they one of us?