Totti sticks to Ro­man roots

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS -

ROME — Francesco Totti con­firmed his re­tire­ment on Mon­day, but the Roma leg­end an­nounced “a new ad­ven­ture” as he be­came a di­rec­tor of the cap­i­tal club.

The 40-year-old played his fi­nal game for Roma in May af­ter 24 years with the Gial­lorossi and de­cided to hang up his boots de­spite be­ing linked with moves to Asia and the United States.

“The first part of my life as a foot­ball player is over and now an­other more im­por­tant one is about to be­gin,” Totti wrote on his Facebook page.

“Un­til May 28 I only thought about play­ing foot­ball, hav­ing fun and mak­ing a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to the team.

“Now I move on. I’m turn­ing over a new leaf.”

Totti played 786 matches for Roma af­ter join­ing as a school­boy in 1989, scor­ing a club- record 307 goals, and won the 2006 World Cup with Italy.

The for­mer at­tack­ing mid­fielder will work along­side new sport­ing di­rec­tor Monchi, who re­port­edly re­fused to give him a new play­ing con­tract, and re­cently ap­pointed coach Euse­bio di Francesco.

“I had 25 years and more of his­tory with Roma,” Totti added. “The field of play has given me so much and I tried to give so much to these peo­ple, who day af­ter day have shown me so much love.

“The be­gin­ning of a new phase, a new ad­ven­ture now starts. I want to be every­thing and noth­ing. I want to be an im­por­tant fig­ure for Rome and for Roma and truly un­der­stand what I’ ll do.”

Ja­panese side Tokyo Verdy came close to sign­ing Totti, but lo­cal me­dia re­ported on Mon­day the deal fell through af­ter his wife re­jected a move to the Far East.

Ear­lier in the off­sea­son, Totti, who made 58 in­ter­na­tional ap­pear­ances, had been linked with sec­ond-tier Amer­i­can out­fit Mi­ami, which is coached by his for­mer Italy team­mate, Alessan­dro Nesta.

But the lure of stay­ing at Sta­dio Olimpico proved too strong, as Roma re­sumes its bid for a first Serie A ti­tle since Totti helped it to the scud­etto in 2001.

“We start from square one. I need time to fig­ure out, step by step, in a calm and sen­si­ble way, what role suits me bet­ter,” Totti said.

“For that rea­son, I’m putting my­self at the dis­posal of the club at all 360 de­grees, from the youth play­ers to the pres­i­dent (James Pal­lotta).”

Totti scored his 250th and fi­nal Serie A goal for Roma last Septem­ber.

He also has two Coppa Italia win­ner’s medals, and claimed the Serie A player of the year award twice, along with the golden boot in 2007.

The re­tire­ment of its high­est ap­pear­ance-maker marks the end of an era for Roma.

Now it will turn its at­ten­tions to mount­ing a se­ri­ous ti­tle chal­lenge, hav­ing fin­ished sec­ond be­hind Ju­ven­tus three times in the last four sea­sons.

PRO­VIDED TO CHINA DAILY

Over 2,000 run­ners took part in last week­end’s Columbia168 Ul­tra Trail Chal­lenge Race in the moun­tain­ous Chongli dis­trict of Zhangji­akou, He­bei prov­ince. The race was won by Li Tiejun, who com­pleted the 168km course in 28 hours, 42 min­utes and 36 sec­onds. Or­ganzied by the Chongli Peo­ple’s Gov­ern­ment and the Bei­jing Sanfo Out­door Sports Co. Ltd, the event also fea­tured runs of 50 and 88 km, tak­ing in the stun­ning scenery of the Great Wall and 2022 Win­ter Olympics venues.

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