Totti celebrates 20 years in Serie A

ROME – Roma captain Francesco Totti claims his long career in Italy’s top flight had “flown by” as he celebrated 20 goal-laden years of playing in Serie A on Thursday.
Francesco Totti is fouled by Parma midfielder Marco Parolo during a Serie A match earlier this month. Net photo.
Francesco Totti is fouled by Parma midfielder Marco Parolo during a Serie A match earlier this month. Net photo.

ROME – Roma captain Francesco Totti claims his long career in Italy’s top flight had “flown by” as he celebrated 20 goal-laden years of playing in Serie A on Thursday.

But the Giallorossi icon, who last week scored his 226th league goal to move to second in the league’s all-time scoring charts behind Silvio Piola, says he’s not ready to hang up his boots just yet.

“I want a new deal,” Totti told Gazzetta dello Sport, which in Thursday’s edition splashed its front cover with a huge photo of the Roma captain under the headline Tutto Totti (everything about Totti).

“Time has flown by because everything I’ve done, I’ve done it with passion,” he added.

Despite the relative lack of domestic title glory – the Giallorossi have won only one scudetto (2001) in Totti’s incredible 20-year spell with the club – the 36-year-old will go down as one of Italian football’s greats.

As tributes poured in this week, one of the most poignant came from old friend and current rival Gianluigi Buffon, the goalkeeper of Juventus.

“Dear Francesco, you’ve made Italian football history: 20 years in Serie A, what a goal. Congratulations,” said Buffon.

After his parents rejected a lucrative offer from AC Milan, the man known variously as Il Bimbo d’Oro (The Golden Boy), Il Re di Roma (The King of Rome), and Il Gladiatore (The Gladiator), made his Roma debut on March 28, 1993 in a 2-0 win away to Brescia.

Totti’s reputation as one of Serie A’s deadliest goalscorers is perhaps boosted by the fact his feats came despite playing in several positions, and in a team lacking the tools to challenge consistently for top honours.

Starting out as a striker, he was pushed out on to the left wing as part of a 4-3-3 formation by Zdenek Zeman in 1997-98.

Zeman made Totti his captain and he replied by scoring 30 goals in the Czech’s two-year spell at the club.

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