Francesco Totti has scored more than 300 goals for Roma in his 25 seasons with the club. Included in that number are a host of penalties, tap ins, wonder strikes and match winners, but what he did one November night ten years ago against Sampdoria defies all labels. While it wasn’t a match winner, or even relevant in the final score line, Totti’s 74th minute left footed volley still stands as one of his finest efforts ever.
This goal, Totti’s second of the match, was perfect in form, inspiration, execution and even celebration. With Rodrigo Taddei initially orchestrating the play and finding Marco Cassetti at the point of attack, Luciano Spalletti’s attack then flayed out wide, with Totti drifting out left, Christian Panucci diving down the right and Simone Perrotta holding down the fort in the middle, stretching Samp’s defense to the brink.
And within that classic tactical ploy, you can see Totti, with a simple raise of his hand, letting Cassetti know when, where and how to find him. Beside crediting Cassetti for listening to Totti, we have to be in awe of that ball, it was perfectly weighted, the angle and separation were ideal, giving Totti ample space to get on the end of the ball.
What happened from there, well, words can’t really do it justice. Without missing a beat or even taking a touch, Totti lashed at the ball with his weaker foot and absolutely buried it in the far post.
But run it back and take a second look and you’ll notice how Totti struck the ball with absolute precision and power. Totti imparted just enough force, and at just the right angle, to avoid the keeper, yet not too much that the ensuing bounce would have carried to the right of the post.
And all this with his left foot. Simply phenomenal. It’s not as if he pulled this off when he was 22. he was 30, four months removed from winning the World Cup, prior to which his ankle/foot essentially fell apart, so you could have forgiven Totti if he was a step slow that night, but he wasn’t and Roma fans the world over are all the better for it.
Francesco Totti is an icon for a reason, and one night in November at the Marassi, he reminded us all why.