In the immediate wake of Francesco Totti's "retirement” following the 2016-2017 season, Roma fans were left with a basket full of emotions. Beyond reconciling the fact that Roma, as we knew them for over twenty years, would no longer exist, fans were left to wonder how their hero would fill his days now that he was no longer required to pull their asses from the fire each and every week. Initially it seemed like Totti would go have a laugh with Alessandro Nesta in Miami or possibly play out the string in Tokyo, but Totti simple couldn't cope with not playing for Roma, so he chose not to play at all.
And really, given what Roma meant to him, it's hard to blame him. When so much of your identity as a footballer and as a man is wrapped up in one shirt and one crest, throwing on another kit is no small matter. Make no mistake, Totti’s "retirement” was the most bitter pill he possibly could have received from the club he effectively made, yet his devotion to the Roma never wavered.
While he flirted with the idea of entering the managerial ranks, Totti decided to take a role alongside Monchi in the front office; a sort of awkward apprenticeship. And, if we're being honest, we're still not quite sure what he did alongside Roma's now former director of sport, but if the reports are any indication, once Monchi (and EDF) left, Totti was as influential as any of the Roma brass in tabbing Claudio Ranieri as Roma's latest caretaker, so he does have clout.
With Roma's power vacuum in full suction mode now, Totti's recent comments have led many to speculate; does he want Monchi's old gig, one currently and temporarily held by Ricky Massara?
Speaking to Sky Sport Italia (link via FI), Totti was ambiguous about his ambitions:
Everyone is talking about the possibility of a different role. We’ll see what happens in future. I can tell you that if I were to take on a new position, I’d change some things. I’ve already spoken to the club about it, but this isn’t the right time to discuss it here. Roma come first and foremost.
Considering that Roma have, I don't know, 15 executives, Totti could probably assume any number of roles, but let's assume he's talking about the job: Director of Sport.
Now, I have no idea what exactly qualifies one for that specific position—they mostly seem to be former players of various ilks, but I suppose there could be an Italian Theo Epstein somewhere, a guy with no playing background but a knack for finding talent—but Totti played the game for over two decades nearly better than anyone ever has, and, one would assume, picked up a few tidbits during his two-year apprenticeship, so if he wants a larger role, one would hope they'd consider his request seriously.
But I have a more important question for us to consider: Can we stomach that?
Can we bear the thought of Totti suffering all the slings and arrows from frustrated Roma fans over the club's direction, or lack thereof?
Totti may be sacrosanct to Roma fans, but sooner or later that love would wane. With a few misplaced transfers or poorly selected coaches, fans might forget about Totti the player, and whatever animosity and angst they have would quickly be directed towards Totti the director.
Francesco Totti had a few bad games during his illustrious career (like, maybe, two) but we never really had grounds for, or the ability to, complain; the things he did on the pitch defied convention, things your average jackass in the stands or schlub at home couldn’t even conceive of; he was a god, plain and simple.
But...that same devotion doesn't apply to executives simply because, as we just discussed, there are no real qualifications for the job; everyone thinks they can do it. And sooner or later that choir of discontent would drown out the songs of praise once showered upon Totti the player.
They say never meet your heroes because you'll be disappointed, but to that I'd add, never see your heroes captain a sinking ship.
Roma's problems run deeper than a manager, deeper than a director really, and I for one don't want Totti tarnished by the stain currently blighting the club.
Would you like to see Francesco Totti become Roma's chief director?
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