Francesco Totti‘s story at Roma is one that stands out in modern football. The Italian spent his entire career with his boyhood club, sacrificing the opportunity to win everything on offer in the game to stay with the club he has always loved.
The No.10, undoubtedly one of his generation’s most talented players, did win a Serie A title and a World Cup during his playing days, but could have won a whole lot more had club level had he been willing to leave the Eternal City.
Despite a number of clubs showing interest in signing hm during his career, the only time he ever seriously considered a move was in 2006, when the then-29-year-old had an offer from Real Madrid.
«Of course I thought about it,» Totti told the Guardian. «Let’s say that there were quite a few days in which we had one foot in and one foot out. Then, I’ve said, often and truthfully, that the choice to stay with Roma was made from the heart. In those moments, when you feel like this, you can’t walk away.
«But certainly, looking back, thinking about the fact of saying no to Real Madrid, a little bit of doubt does remain.
«Real Madrid were the only other team that I could have gone to play for. The only team it could have been, I think. An experience in a different country could have been something beautiful for everyone. For my family. For me.
«When you make a choice with your own head, that can never be a wrong choice. Don’t you think?»
The last of a dying breed
Totti‘s 25-year career with Roma earnt him a permanent place in the hearts of Giallorossi fans, but he accepts that this sort of loyalty is no longer commonplace in football.
«I started out in different times. A different football,» Totti explained.
«A football made of love, of affection toward fans. Playing for the team I always supported, it was a lot easier for me to make this choice. Twenty-five years in one team is no small thing, and being the captain, being one of the most important players, you always need to measure up.
«But to make a comparison between my time and today, it’s difficult. Today it’s more business. You go where you can make more money. And that’s fair enough, no?»
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