In the wake of his club's 3-0 defeat on Sunday, José Mourinho spoke candidly about the differences between Roma and Inter Milan. In his post-match presser, The Special One admitted that Inter are better than Roma under “normal circumstances” but when those circumstances become suboptimal, like when your club is missing its starting striker (Tammy Abraham), club captain and best playmaker (Lorenzo Pellegrini) starting right-back (Rick Karsdorp) and its offensive sparkplug (Stephan El Shaarawy), Inter becomes, in Mourinho's words, “much better.” To put it mildly.
Those long odds didn't keep the Roma faithful away from the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday, though, as the club's old ground was filled to its pandemic-induced 75% capacity. And sitting among those forty-some-odd thousand fans was a special guest: club legend Francesco Totti, who returned to his former stomping grounds for the first time in nearly two years, thanks in part to his new partnership with Digitalbits, Roma's main shirt sponsor.
While Totti's presence didn't inspire an upset, Er Pupone opened up on a host of Roma-related topics in a press conference earlier today. Here are some of the highlights; translations via Calciomercato and Football Italia.
On his relationship with the Friedkins:
“Dialogue with Roma? If we were to talk about the future, I don’t know what it has in store for me, through Digitalbits maybe I will have more opportunities to talk to the club, but they are completely different things. As far as Roma is concerned, anything can happen. Did I talk to Friedkin? Yes, I said goodbye to him on Saturday at the stadium before the match”
On his return to the Olimpico:
“It was special because I hadn’t watched Roma at the stadium for two years. When I watch Roma I feel at home, I thank the fans for their welcome and I hope to return soon.”
“What did I feel on Saturday? A different feeling, after two years of not going to the stadium to see Roma made a particular impression on me. I had been to see Italy-Switzerland, but it’s different. When Roma are around you feel at home. These are sensations that you only perceive them internally and it made a huge impact on me, I thank the fans for the welcome they give me every day, not only at the stadium, and I hope to return as soon as possible.”
On the club's current state of affairs:
“Surely, when it comes to Roma, there is always great emotion...As a fan, I can say that we are not going through a great time, but if you don’t suffer, you are not a Roma fan. We are accustomed to these ups and downs, but I am sure the club and Mourinho want to give satisfaction to our fans. Let’s give them time.”
“You need strong players to win trophies, a club and a coach that help them feel at home. Players are the most important thing. I don’t want to disrespect the current team, but I don’t see champions there, only good players who can do well in a certain context.”
On his future career plans:
“How do I see myself in 10 years? I’m already different today, I don’t know in ten years, I hope to do things that come to me from within, to do them with desire, determination and instinct. I don’t know what it has in store for me, but I do everything with dedication, respect and desire as I did 30 years with my Rome”
Francesco Totti has certainly kept himself busy after leaving his administrative position with the club in 2019, shifting his focus to his talent agency and his various media pursuits, including his autobiography, a documentary, and a TV series chronicling his playing days, Speravo De Mori Prima. While some fans long for an official return to the club, Totti seems content to leave the door open while pursuing other interests rather than sitting idly by waiting for the phone to ring.
Besides, with Digitalbits reportedly signing the Roma legend to an €8 million endorsement deal, he'll be plenty busy. Still, as Totti has so often attested, his love for Roma cannot be measured or analyzed, so our dreams of a Totti-Roma reunion may not be that farfetched.