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Totti Today & Tomorrow

Where do we start? And more importantly, how does it end?

AC Milan v AS Roma - Serie A Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

It's quite fitting, isn't it? No more Totti Today, long live Totti Tomorrow. Because tomorrow's a mystery. A book ready to be unfold. A gift ready to be opened.

In a few days, Roma might suddenly be without its icon, its leader, its captain, its shining beacon in Serie A's world of darkness. Seconds become minutes, minutes become hours, hours become days... As D-Day creeps closer, I feel more and more uncertain. Abandoned. Lost and looking for hope. On Sunday, everything will be revealed. We know how it will start, but not how it will end...

Roma - Genoa. Always an entertaining fixture and hugely important for Roma's CL aspirations. On a normal day. But this Roma-Genoa is something else. It won't be about CL, Dzeko's stats, Perotti's tattoos or Spalletti's late subs. Everyone who's Roma-minded and with a Giallorosso heart, will be looking at one man and one man only. Er Pupone. Sadly for the fans, that man's gonna be on the bench for most of the time, just like in the previous months.

We've reached our destination. The finish line. End game. The apotheosis of a magnificent play, written by F. Totti and his ten tenors. By now, we've seen all kinds of honorary pieces and praise on this blog by my fellow editors, rightfully so. We can't post enough highlights, overviews and emotions from a man who's given roughly 90% of his time to AS Roma.

Just like you guys, I never dared to imagine a Roma without Totti. All I ever saw was his nr10 shirt on the pitch, pulling off some incredible passes and shots that other footballers simply couldn't copy. From a long-haired Francesco who played against Real, Arsenal, Ajax and AEK Athene in the Champions League of 2003-2004, to the famous spit incident against Denmark, to winning the World Cup in 2006, the Golden Boot in 2007, Ranieri's comeback in 2010, his goals against Juve (the rocket), Sampdoria (the beauty) and Lazio (the selfie)... So many memories to choose from.

But can you really sum up his career or write down a man's feelings about this all? Isn't it much bigger than that? It's the end of a cycle. An era that has lasted since 1993. Generations have witnessed Totti and now, they're left empty-handed. For years we have been talking about this with a grain of salt and perhaps even irony. "Francesco's eternal. He'll never quit. He can play until his 50th birthday." But now, our big mouths are shut. Suddenly, we got our ass kicked by Mr Reality. The waiting is over.

Totti's not eternal. No one really is. Yet, we have tortured ourselves for years, thinking about Francesco's farewell tour. Will he call it a day when he's 35? Maybe 36? Or could he play on until he's 40? Perhaps he can still break this record in Serie A. And that record. And now, the year is 2017 and it seems our time's up. Francesco's almost 41 and the rumor mill about his retirement has reached its climax.

Oh, how I hoped that Genoa would never visit Rome... Whether he'll decide to travel to the US or just quit football in general, Sunday will end as a sad and dark day for all of us. All those lovely words said by people like Zeman, Gerrard, Luis Enrique, Buffon, Dunga and even, God forbid, Inzaghi and his Lazio fans, it doesn't matter anymore.

Words won't bring him back or make him any younger. This day was destined to arrive, ever since March 28 1993, his debut against Brescia. 1993. To put things in perspective: Google didn't exist and Dybala wasn't even born yet. We've come a long way.

I'm not really sure what to make of this piece. I feel awkward, clumsy. Because I don't want to ruin this 'party'. A celebration of nearly 25 years of pure magic. The adieu of an artist, one of the last true Italian legends. A party with a bitter aftertaste and the worst of hangovers though. After all the praise and protocols this weekend, we will wake up on Monday and not be the same anymore. A friend of us has left.

There will be time to grieve. In fact there will be plenty of time. And in the end, it will turn into happiness. Happiness because we were so damn lucky to be part of his legacy, in the stadium or in front of the TV. Because his loyalty towards Roma knew no boundaries. Because we knew we always had Er Pupone to carry this Roma on his back.

Please. One last time now. Shout it on Sunday so everyone can hear you.

"We have Totti. You don't."