Halls of Fame are revered things in North American sports. Ostensibly just museums to their respective sports, these halls of history often provide one final opportunity to debate the merits on an individual athletes career: Do they belong? Are they a first ballot Hall of Famer? Should they be a unanimous selection? Some people have taken it so far as to suggest the halls of fame have further strata within them; inner and outer rings of honor.
And while I'm not certain the same debates exist in European sports, there can be no doubt: Francesco Totti is a Hall of Famer, an honor he received earlier today from the FIGC.
Established in 2011, the Italian Football Association Hall of Fame was created to recognize the best and brightest contributors to the world of Italian football. And early today, they added 11 names to their ranks, including the likes of Javier Zanetti, Max Allegri, referee Nicola Rizzoli and, as you can see, our very own Francesco Totti.
On his latest honor, Totti was naturally grateful and reflective:
I think is a special, beautiful day for me. It means a lot, coming after being added to Roma’s Hall of Fame.
I want to think the FIGC for deciding to award me this distinction. Winning the World Cup in Berlin in 2006 cemented my reputation around the world, and I think that achievement also helped me earn this one here.
In addition to that World Cup victory, Totti has a host of other plaudits to his name. Totti is second only to Silvio Piola in Serie A scoring, while ranking third in total appearances (though he has the most among attacking players). Totti has the most penalty goals in league history, the third most free kick goals in history, probably top five/ten in assists (they didn't tabulate those throughout the history of the game) and was at once among the youngest (16-years-old) and oldest players (40-years-old) in league history.
Roma fans are obviously biased, but Totti has long been widely considered among the handful of elite Italian talents to ever kick a ball, so it's nice to see him recognized by the sport's governing body as such. In fact, Totti is one of only eight Italian players to be inducted thus far, joining Roberto Baggio, Paolo Maldini, Franco Baresi, Fabio Cannavaro, Gianluca Vialli, Giuseppe Bergomi, and Alessandro Del Piero.
The full list of enshrinees can be found here.
Congrats to Totti. Now, if he can turn around yet another Roma mess (this time from the boardroom), we might have to find another Hall of Fame for him.