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Iconic Francesco Totti, the one club man

  • Published at 12:45 pm August 27th, 2016
  • Last updated at 01:31 pm August 27th, 2016
Iconic Francesco Totti, the one club man
The transfer market in European football has gone crazy in the last decade. Prices of players have gone way too high these years. Lucrative salary offers often lure players from one big club to another. There is hardly any footballer these days who remain loyal and turn down humongous offers to join their rivals. When the word loyalty is uttered, one name will certainly come to mind and that is Francesco Totti – the one-club man. The legendary attacking midfielder, fondly referred to as the “King of Rome” by fans, had chances to join many great clubs in his golden days but he stayed at AS Roma and served the club for many years. Winning trophies is an important part of any player’s career, but for Totti the greatest significance lies in the method and the meaning, not the triumph. [caption id="attachment_12756" align="alignright" width="300"]ROME, ITALY - APRIL 03: Fans of AS Roma with banner "eighteen years of love" in support of Francesco Totti during the Serie A match between AS Roma and Juventus FC at Stadio Olimpico on April 3, 2011 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images) Fans of AS Roma with banner "eighteen years of love" in support of Totti during the Serie A match between Roma and Juventus at Stadio Olimpico on April 3, 2011[/caption] Big clubs like Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona all tried to tempt him many times away from Rome. But the King of Rome stayed at Roma. For Totti, playing at Stadio Olimpico with passion and love for the club and for the supporters is much more worthy than winning trophies elsewhere. Totti has spent his entire senior career with Roma, where even the most seemingly loyal footballers regularly change clubs in these years when offered a slightly better wage. Totti is not only the captain of Roma, but also a talismanic symbol of the club. Born and bred in the Eternal City, Totti supported Roma as a boy and joined the club's youth team in 1989. He made his Serie A debut at the age of 16 in 1993. His rapid development encouraged coach Zdeněk Zeman to give him the club captaincy in 1997 at the age of 20. He scored 30 goals over the next three seasons, winning his first senior cap for the Azzurris in October 1998 and helping Italy to a runners-up spot at Uefa Euro 2000, where he was the man-of-the-match in the final against France. Totti formed a brilliant attacking partnership with Argentine great Gabriel Batistuta and led Roma to the Scudetto in 2000/01 under coach Fabio Capello. He was adjudged Italy's footballer of the year in 2000 and 2003. [caption id="attachment_12759" align="alignright" width="280"]06bd92d7f41ca4f3cda4b2dbda3c8660 Francesco Totti celebrates with Argentine forward Gabriel Batistuta (R) during 2000-01 season[/caption] However, he had disappointing experiences with Italy at the 2002 FIFA World Cup and Uefa Euro 2004. But he returned from serious injury to help Italy win the 2006 World Cup in Germany, playing in all seven matches and scoring one goal – a last-minute winning penalty against Australia in the round of 16. The World Cup final proved to be his last match for Italy, his international career concluding with 58 caps and nine goals. Totti played in various positions throughout his career - striker, winger, playmaker, false nine, attacking midfielder, trequartista or second-striker. Using his exquisite vision to pick them out with the wonderful range of passing that has always been his main strength, at times it felt as if Totti was playing the Roman gladiator he has tattooed on his right shoulder. So far Totti has scored 304 goals in 758 appearances in all competitions for Roma. He scored his 211th Serie A goal in January 2012 to break Gunnar Nordahl's 50-year long record of highest scorer with a single club in the history of the Italian league. He also holds the record of oldest goalscorer in Uefa Champions league history when he scored against Manchester City in 2014. Totti speaks so passionately about remaining a one club man during an interview recently. “Maybe that's the difference between me and everybody else. There aren’t many athletes who follow their hearts. They choose to go somewhere to win more and earn more money. They’re like gypsies. If I thought only about the money and the finances, I would have changed teams 10 years ago. I’d earn more in respect to what I make now with Roma. For me it’s another choice, one of passion, not money. I’ve always loved these colours and I’ve always desired to wear only this jersey. For me, this is an ideal marriage.” This 2016-17 campaign will be his final playing season for Roma. But his legacy will remain. The word Totti means bags of goals, wonderful skills, brilliant assists, passionate celebrations with fans and class that will forever remain in the Roma fans' hearts and in football history. [youtube id="XJc28Gs0yws"]
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