It was kind of a busy day around the Romaverse—what with the club welcoming Real Madrid to the Olimpico for what turned out to be an ugly but inconsequential Champions League fixture—but with both clubs assured safe passage to the knockout rounds, the normal matchday stress was dialed down...somewhat. Getting out of the group was really job one, so in that regard we should be pleased that Roma has done enough in this competition to at least finish second to Madrid.
However, despite those distractions, we’d be remiss if we didn’t talk about the honor bestowed upon our namesake today, Francesco Totti.
Prior to this evening’s match, the club honored Totti’s induction into the club hall of fame, with Er Pupone standing as the sole inductee for the class of 2017. Following his “retirement” in May of 2017, Roma automatically enshrined him in the hall of fame but, for some reason, chose not to publicly honor him until today, meaning the actual class of 2018—Giuliano Taccola, Rodolfo Volk and Mario De Micheli—were sort of given the bum’s rush.
On the occasion of this honor, Totti was naturally emotional, saying simply:
It’s a landmark day, so special...I’m a Roman, a Roma fan, I only played for one club, I was the captain... it’s a privilege that is difficult to put into words. To stand here in front of the fans is always emotional for me. To be with them makes every day like the Hall of Fame for me. Like always we are united; we are all brothers, sisters - I truly love you all.
During his playing days, Totti was seldom praised for his polished public speaking, but the grace with which he bares his soul to his people is truly remarkable. The manner in which Totti’s career ended still makes me sick, but moments like this prove one thing—This man is so much bigger than petty squabbles and arguments about legacy.
They say no man is bigger than his club, and they may very well be right, but when it comes to Francesco Totti and Roma that rule doesn’t quite apply.
Francesco Totti isn’t bigger than Roma. He is Roma.