Monchi gave his first official press conference as Roma’s director of sport today, touching upon everything from the reasons he left Sevilla (and transitively why he chose Roma), his feelings about Luciano Spalletti, racism in football and, most pressingly, the future of our patron Saint, Francesco Totti.
If you’ve been with us for most of the year, you’ve no doubt noticed our “Francesco Totti: The Final Season” section, our year long tribute to our namesake and the very reason 90% of us are Roma fans. While this was an intentional tribute, I always had a healthy bit of skepticism as to Totti’s true intentions; he’s said it time and again, he’ll walk away when he no longer has the desire to play, or when he no longer views himself as a footballer. And while this season hasn’t probably gone as he planned, there is still a role, a very specific niche in which Totti can survive and thrive for AS Roma.
So, when Monchi said the following—after being asked about Totti’s future next year—a small piece of you probably died:
As for Francesco, I’ll say that I’ve been here for a week and I knew there was already an agreement between him and the club for one final year as a player that would lead into a role as Roma director starting from next season.
Now I want to look forward and I ask that Francesco is right by my side so I can understand what Roma are about, because he is Roma. I ask him to stay close to me if he wants to and if I get to understand even 1% of what he knows about Roma, I’ll consider myself lucky
But did he really add anything to the Totti is retiring conversation? For my two cents, he simply reiterated the deal/agreement that was already in place from the prior administration. He did not, as the Football Italia headlines suggest, say “It’s Totti’s final year”, so let’s not fly off the handle here.
Monchi may be a man of conviction, but does he really have the temerity to say no to Francesco Totti? If Totti wants to play next season, he’s playing next season. Even after a year in which he’s been treated like a drunk uncle at a christmas party, he’s rarely complained publicly about his role, so one can assume he’d be willing to reprise that next season, though as I’ve maintained all along, there’s a happy medium between 90 minutes and, you know, five minutes per match.
So until we hear from Totti himself, don’t start mourning the end.