Totti sticks to Roman roots
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.
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.