In our six years of existence (11 if you count our pre-CdT days) we’ve dedicated thousands (and who knows, maybe millions) of words towards our patron saint, Francesco Totti. Words of joy, words of despair, words of anger and words forced through tears, but no matter how much prose we dedicated to Er Pupone, it always fell short. Totti’s greatness always exceeded conventional description, so tangible rewards and shiny trinkets were always bound to disappoint.
Now, that won’t stop us from celebrating when Totti is recognized by the broader sporting community. Earlier this week (sorry for the delay), Totti was awarded the Exceptional Achievement Award at the 2018 Laureus World Sport Awards during a star studded ceremony in Monaco, the world’s favorite principality.
Congratulations Francesco @Totti on receiving the Exceptional Achievement Award from @LaureusSport! #ASRoma #Totti #Laureus18 pic.twitter.com/fOZvZFYIkw— AS Roma English (@ASRomaEN) February 27, 2018
Laureus—an agency that uses sports as a means to end violence, discrimination and disadvantage, focusing on, among other areas, health, education and gender equality—honored a spate of athletes ranging from JJ Watt to Roger Federer to Sergio Garcia yesterday. Considering that none other than Nelson Mandela was once the patron of the agency itself, these recognitions are no trivial matter.
As far as Totti is concerned, the one-club man was only the second athlete ever to win the Exceptional Achievement Award, following in Olympian Michael Phelps’ footsteps. On the award, Totti was naturally quite overcome:
I am feeling quite emotional about this, as I didn’t expect to be picking up this award. I am happy to have spent 25 years of my career with Roma. I also had happy moments in the Nazionale. I tried to give all of myself at all times.I thank everyone for this lovely evening and hope to help you again in future, to help people less fortunate than ourselves.
There's only one @totti! #Laureus18 pic.twitter.com/8bP309XdBf— #Laureus18 (@LaureusSport) February 27, 2018
In the wake of the ceremony, Totti opened up about his future, showing remarkable candor about his struggle to come to grips with the end of his playing days, admitting that he remains afraid of the future and longs for the simple things a career in calcio brought: lacing up his boots, the camaraderie of the dressing room and even eating with his teammates.
So while we quite rightly remain in awe of Totti’s career and dedication to the fans and city of Roma, I’m sure you’ll join me in hoping he finds some solace.