Francesco Totti took to the podium at CONI headquarters today to announce he is leaving Roma indefinitely. The legendary number 10 has resigned from his role - whatever it was - within the club’s management and written a letter to Roma’s CEO that Totti himself described as “words I never imagined I’d have to send to the club.”
Roma and Totti never do things low-key and this divorce is no exception.
Totti didn’t pull any punches when he confirmed everything that has been reported about his feeling towards the current Roma regime. If anything what Totti ended up saying was even more black-and-white than what had been written about the uneasy relationship between club and icon. Among the many issues Totti voiced his feelings over today were:
- Totti felt the club has been dishonest with the fans over their sporting ambitions each season while ‘taking the fans for a ride‘
- Totti claims ‘he has no rapport with Franco Baldini.’
- Totti felt either him or Franco Baldini had to leave the club at this time.
- Totti claimed he was never involved in any technical decisions on the sporting direction of the team since his retirement. ‘In my first year it’s understandable but after a second year I understood what they really wanted.’
- Totti felt that Roma management have had everything go their way for the last 8 years since James Pallotta assumed control and that ‘anything said to the contrary is devoid of the truth’.
- Totti confirmed talks had happened between Roma and Emirates’ investors about takeover interest but that ‘until I see something in writing I don’t give it much stock.’
- Totti felt it was no use to attend the club’s managerial summit in London because ‘he was told about it two days before the meetup and that the new coach had already been decided. What use did going to London have?’
- Totti claims the only man he spoke with for Roma’s bench next season was Antonio Conte. Any reports that Totti spoke with or pushed for names like Gasperini, Gattuso, Mihajlovic and De Zerbi were ‘pure science fiction.’
- Totti felt that ‘Antonio Conte was the only name that could change the atmosphere around Roma. Talks were had and Conte gave the OK, but along the way problems started to come up and then the idea changed.’
- Totti repeatedly said ‘the American management have gotten what they want and always wanted: taking Romans out of Roma.’
- Totti claimed James Pallotta listens ‘only to a few people. But if I make mistakes for eight years I have to ask myself: “Can I do it by myself or no?”’ and claimed he never had to chance to sit down and explain to Pallotta what ‘Romanita’’ is.
- Totti: ‘The problem is there are many things happening at the club that Pallotta doesn’t know about. I think what his men report back to him in Boston is maybe a tenth of what’s really going on.’
I’m sure there will be strong feelings by everyone in football over what Totti has come out with today. But if anything, it’s refreshing the man has gotten things off his chest and is making an effort to stand on his own two feet. I began this press conference hearing Totti saying ‘if I’ve left my post today it’s not my fault’ and thought this press conference was just going to be unhelpful and all over the place.
Some of his claims are unhelpful to Romans like Alessandro Florenzi, Lorenzo Pellegrini and others who are in a very difficult position now. You can imagine they just want to play football for their home club and don’t need the pressure of this public falling out which amounts to none other than a difference in philosophy at the heart of it.
But you can’t make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, and evidently Totti felt speaking out was worth the price.
By the end of it, I have to respect Totti for being black-and-white in his view. The man has left nothing equivocal about his side of the story, and you have to give him his dues there. I wish him the best in his next adventure.
Today he spoke in the company of club legends like Candela, Nela, Falcao’s family and others. Not bad friends to have.
Who will be friends with James Pallotta and Franco Baldini at this point? God forgives but Totti don’t.
- Totti on James Pallotta keeping him at the club: “I thank him sincerely for the opportunity. I would have never had the opportunity to see the club in a totally different light had he not kept me on. I understood some things about the club as a director that I would have never thought to understand as a player. For that I have to thank him. I don’t spit on the plate I ate off of.”
- Totti on Lorenzo Pellegrini and Alessandro Florenzi: “I haven’t spoken with Florenzi about any of this but I wish him the best. I spoke with Lorenzo last night to congratulate him on his game, and he said he couldn’t believe my decision.”
- Totti on Monchi: “I haven’t heard from him since he left.”
- Totti on player signings: “They asked me if I felt it was right to sign a player, who I won’t name here. I told them he’s not right for Roma because Di Francesco plays 4-3-3 and this player has had a thousand injuries. The club replied that it seemed like I was always against them and always saying no to everything. I just gave them my opinion. I would have signed a player from Ajax instead.”
- Totti on Di Francesco: “I don’t have to defend or stand up for him even if he’s my friend. But I’ll say that after a Champions League semi-final, you should aim to reach the final. Di Francesco asked the club for 4 or 5 players he wanted signed. Do you know how many of those players the club signed? Zero.”