We’ve watched this season, presumably Francesco Totti’s final as an on the pitch Roma icon, with bated breath, never quite sure if this is really it because, as we’ve said so many times over the past 18 months or so, he’s still lethal in small doses; he’s still the most intelligent, most impactful and most creative player on the squad. The body is still willing, but is the soul? In other words, to what extent has Totti—or will Totti should he forge on—accepted his now even more diminished role?
Well, in damn near Trumpian fashion, Totti has toyed with the media this week, hinting that he’s decided on something, heaping praise upon Luciano Spalletti and revealing his bygone desire to pump gas. But what’s his angle? Is he building us up to let us down, or merely playing coy about returning?
One thing is for certain, Totti has not been pleased by his bit role this season:
Although it’s not easy when you only get five minutes to play. It’s not because of Spalletti, it is difficult in general.
Would you want me to sign a contract and then not play, what kind of signature is that?
Spalletti – it’s clear – is a strong Coach, he can win with Roma and be of use to this city. He knows the environment, and I'm at the end of my career, I have to think about the future.
There’s not much ambiguity there, but it speaks to what we’ve long known: in order for him to survive the autumn of his career, his simple desire to play, to remain a professional footballer, has to triumph over his ego. The trouble is, and has been, that when he’s on the pitch, he’s still effective, which makes this entire scenario even stickier. It’d be one thing if he couldn’t even complete a pass or pull off a shot, but he still pulls passes out of his ass, finding lanes we didn’t even know existed.
Still, comments like these, coupled with the fact that he’s made a decision of some sort, are enough to give you pause. I’ve maintained all season long that he was coming back for one more go, but even my rock solid faith is being tested.
Which brings us to this: the Gazzetta della Sport (link via Football Italia but here’s the original) reports that Roma now expect Totti to hang ‘em up at the end of the season, making the home match against Genoa on May 28th the last of his illustrious career, which would mean there are only two months of Totti left, which, which...fucking hell that’s depressing.
Still, Totti has left the door open ever so slightly, consistently affirming his love for the game and belief that he can still contribute, so our hope might not be dashed yet. No matter, we’re still in for a tense couple of months.
Keep your fingers crossed.
Will Totti actually retire at the end of the year?
This poll is closed
Yes, he’s more than earned it.
No, the fire still burns