The debate ignited around the future of Roma striker Francesco Totti after the captain vented over his current situation in an interview last month is showing little sign of abating.
“I can’t stay at Roma like this. It hurts to be on the bench,” said Totti, speaking to Italian television station, Rai. “I understand at my age I play less, but ending my career like this is bad for me as a man and what I’ve given to Roma. I demand more respect for all I’ve done here.”
Totti has increasingly found himself on the bench over the past season or two. Roma manager, Luciano Spalletti and his predecessor, Rudi Garcia, have both preferred the likes of Edin Dzeko, Mohamed Salah and Iago Falque’ to 39-year-old Totti. But the striker, who won the 2006 World Cup with Italy, has shown no intention of going quietly into the good night just yet.
While there has been pressure on Totti from the club hierarchy to move into a management or front office position, the esteemed captain does not yet seem ready to hang up his boots.
“I still feel like a player who is physically in good shape and I want to play,” said Totti. “The injury is behind me now and if I don’t play it is purely down to a tactical decision.”
It’s a tenuous situation. Totti has spent his entire career at Roma and is a living, breathing club icon. However his ability to contribute on the pitch is not what it was. The question of whether a club currently contending for a spot in the Champions League and has generally been in and around the race for the Scudetto in recent seasons if if they can truly afford room for a 40-something fading striker in its ranks legitimate.
Totti, for his part, may find it difficult to leave Rome, despite his discontent. Spalletti, meanwhile, seems reluctant to be the man who calls time on the Roma career of perhaps the greatest player ever to wear the Giallorossi colors. And so, we are at something of an impasse.
There has some talk of the possibility of Totti coming to MLS. Eccentric and outspoken Sampdoria president, Massimo Ferrero has also extended an offer to Totti to join La Samp.
“I’ve heard that Totti might move abroad if Roma don’t renew his contract, but that’s impossible as far as I’m concerned,” said Ferrero. “He’s an Italian monument; a UNESCO world heritage. So I’d bring him to Sampdoria.”
Meanwhile, Roma will look to lock down their hold on third place and, perhaps, maintain the slightest chance of a late run on the title when they welcome fifth-place Inter Milan to the Stadio Olimpico this weekend.