ROMA ICON TOTTI TO HANG UP BOOTS

Will re­tire at end of sea­son af­ter play­ing for club his en­tire pro­fes­sional ca­reer

New Straits Times - - Sport -

ROME

ROMA club icon Francesco Totti will re­tire at the end of the sea­son when the 40year-old’s con­tract ex­pires, new sports di­rec­tor Monchi said on Wed­nes­day.

“I want him here right by my side. He is Roma. He can teach me what Roma is,” said Monchi at his un­veil­ing in the role, adding the cap­tain will re­main at the club in a man­age­ment po­si­tion.

“There is an agree­ment in place. This is his last sea­son but then he con­tin­ues in man­age­ment.”

“I want Totti to ex­plain to me what Roma is, to make me un­der­stand what he knows,” added the Spa­niard Monchi, who won credit for his sports di­rec­tor role at Sevilla, who won the Europa League in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

The striker Totti has played all his pro­fes­sional ca­reer at Roma and is a hugely pop­u­lar fig­ure, mak­ing his de­but in 1993.

Coach Lu­ciano Spal­letti had a se­ries of run-ins with the Roma No 10 last sea­son.

De­spite that and his ad­vanc­ing years Totti an­swered with a string of key goals and even­tu­ally got another 12-month con­tract last sum­mer, although Roma said then it would be his fi­nal sea­son.

Asked how he felt af­ter his last derby, the week­end de­feat to Lazio, Totti said: “Oth­ers see this is as my last derby, but I don’t.”

While the Spa­niard may have has­tened Totti’s de­par­ture, Roma had al­ready an­nounced there would be a six-year con­tract as a club di­rec­tor ready to be signed once he ends his play­ing ca­reer.

It ap­pears over­whelm­ingly that Totti could make his farewell bow when Roma host Genoa in their last game of the sea­son on May 28, one fi­nal chance for the one-club vet­eran to bid good­bye to the Sta­dio Olimpico faith­ful.

The Roma tal­is­man’s 616 Serie A ap­pear­ances are third most all-time, while Totti’s 250 goals in Italy’s top flight are sec­ond only to Sil­vio Pi­ola’s record of 274.

Totti was a run­ner-up with Italy at Euro 2000, a year be­fore lift­ing his only Serie A ti­tle with Roma — who are head­ing for a ninth run­ner-up fin­ish since their last league tri­umph. AFP

This is his last sea­son but then he con­tin­ues in man­age­ment.”

Monchi

Roma sports di­rec­tor

Francesco Totti

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