Francesco Totti: what else can be said that hasn’t already been proclaimed from the highest of mountains? Everyone from Roger Federer to Daniele De Rossi to Will Smith to Pélé have wished the world-class attacker a happy fortieth birthday today, and it would just feel wrong if Chiesa di Totti let the day go by without some sort of remembrance in honor of Rome’s most iconic player. Instead of finding new ways to say what ESPN, Gazzetta dello Sport, and even yours truly have written about the man, let’s use the incredible beauty of the miles and miles of tape that Totti has created over the years (along with a few anecdotes from his life) to perhaps provide a different dimension to today’s celebrations.
I’m obviously only going to barely scratch the surface of who Francesco Totti is and what he means to the city of Rome, but these are certainly some of the brightest moments in a supernova-like career.
Totti started out with A.S. Roma in 1989, when Roma’s youth director snatched Italy’s generational talent straight out of the clutches of Lazio, and Thank Totti for that. Francesco promptly turned heads throughout the peninsula, and even when he was playing with kids the likes of Adriano Galliani (of A. C. Milan) and Juventus were after him. Yet Roma knew how to hold onto a talent, particularly one who was playing for his boyhood club, and Totti would go on to make his prime-time debut at the ripe old age of 16 on March 28, 1993. And the rest, as they say is history. But let’s dive into that history a little bit now.
Remember that time Roma won the Scudetto? 15 years ago? There was this guy named Gabriel Batistuta who banged in goals like, well, not Juan Iturbe? Our very own Francesco was an important part of that title-winning side (obviously), and although it’s certainly a throwback to see long-haired Totti, clips like these can bring a grin to any fan of Roma, and the sport of football in general. Even if he had ended his career right after that last match with Parma, Totti would have gone down in Romanisti lore. Hopefully he will be able to add to his trophy cabinet at least one more time before he hangs his boots up (looking at you, Coppa Italia), but even if he walks away empty-handed, he will always have this year, and we will always have that year.
The World Cup Win
Totti’s biggest moment in Italy’s most recent World Cup win was undoubtedly this penalty kick against Australia that propelled the Azzurri past a scrappy Socceroo side (what, I like alliteration). This certainly wasn’t Totti’s only moment of glory at the World Cup: Italy’s best number 10 of the past two decades (sorry, Thiago Motta) was named to the World Cup’s Best XI, all of this while recovering from a fibula fracture and with metal plates in his ankle. Even if you disregard Totti’s history for Roma, the man is a legend. You can’t say that for many other world-class players.
The Record-Breaking Champions League Goal
Totti’s definitely made his living breaking records left and right: the youngest captain of a Serie A side to this day, one of the highest goal-scorers on the peninsula, and, after this beautiful goal against Manchester City’s Joe Hart, the oldest goal-scorer in Champions League history.
Just look at that goal. Look at it, and weep tears of joy, for you were lucky enough to live when Francesco Totti played the game of football.
The Curva Selfie
Totti’s always been known for his joyful goal celebrations, particularly against Lazio, and this was certainly no exception. This specific celebration became enough of a phenomenon that it was added as a possible celebration in PES 2016. Just imagine if a joke you did at work became famous enough to be included in a video game. That’s essentially Totti’s everyday life.
Man, Joe Hart has been showing up here quite a bit, huh? Despite the match ending in a 3-1 loss for the Giallorossi, Totti’s goal only further propelled him into the mythos of Italian football. For context, the following players have scored 250 goals in Serie A:
- Silvio Piola (who played before the Kennedy Administration)
- That’s it.
Enjoy this while you can, amici. Enjoy this while you can.