Francesco Totti is looking forward to bringing the the same passion and determination he had as a player to his new role with AS Roma, as he begins work as a director for his boyhood club.
The Giallorossi icon ended his playing days at the conclusion of the 2016-17 campaign amid emotional scenes at the Stadio Olimpico, as fans paid an unforgettable tribute to a man who had worn the club colours with pride and undeniable quality for 25 years.
Now Totti starts work as a director with the Giallorossi, operating alongside the likes of sporting director Monchi and coach Eusebio Di Francesco to try and help the club in a new manner.
Read what the legendary No. 10 had to say about his new challenge.
Well, Francesco, where do we begin?
Totti: "I will start with the last day of my playing career, on 28 May 2017. For me it was an historic day, an important one, a day that for me was extremely emotional. The reception I got will always be with me. It is difficult to explain to the fans the sensations and the emotions that I had on that day.”
The first part of your life has finished, but now begins another.
“Yes, the first part is over, that of a player, and now begins another important assignment as a director, where hopefully I can have a similar impact as I did on the pitch.”
It was beautiful to play the game, but everything has to end…
“Football is my passion, it’s everything to me: it’s fun, it’s friendship, it’s scoring goals and it’s meeting new people. It is something that has a role in everything important in my life.”
It seemed like you were not really ready to let go on May 28...
“Yes, I think that was perhaps clear: I never wanted that game, or that day, to finish. For me it was hugely significant, really important and very emotional. It’s been 25 years and more of a beautiful relationship with Roma. The football pitch has given me so much, and I have tried to give everything and more back for the people who day after day have shown me so much love.”
Now it becomes serious...
“I have always been serious, truly. We are talking about two different things. One of those was my main job, which now we will begin in a different way but with the same intent and same focus – maybe even more, because I have a lot of football experience that will give me a great chance to help the squad.”
Where do you start now?
“I start at the beginning, now goes a new phase and a new adventure. I have had this time to thing about things, to reflect and truly decide that I am ready to continue serving this team, day after day, with calmness and confidence, to learn the role and add something new above all. I will try to be available in 360 degrees, from the youth sector to the President. Then it is normal that it will take a while – six months, a year, two years, I don’t know – to truly find my real and best role.”
Is there anybody in particular you want to thank?
“To say thank you to everyone I want to right now would take more than a week. I thank everyone, my family and my friends. All of them have been with me during this period, along with the players and the president, everyone has helped me become something unique in this city: I am really thankful to them and will never forget what they have done.”
How do you see your future?
“I am looking forward to something bright, something beautiful: finding my perfect role, doing what I can to help make a great squad and a brilliant club.”
It’s not easy to start to think about the future about 40, but it never is…
“It’s not easy to think about right now, but there are many ex-players who have played and then had to think about what they would do in the future. I finished on May 28 having thought only about football, focused solely on making a big contribution to the team. Now we turn the page, we think about new roles and new challenges.
“I have the chance to work with Roma, with the sporting director Monchi, with the president Mr. Pallotta, with Mauro Baldissoni, with Eusebio Di Francesco, with everyone. I am fortunate to know a lot of those guys well, and those I don’t I now have the time to get to know better in person.
“When you change your role, you always need to take a while to get to know better the situation you are walking into – but I am fortunate enough to already know very well the atmosphere around the club and the city. The doubts are only about what exactly I want to do to achieve something great. At this moment the details are not precise, I don’t want to have a specific role – I want to be everything and nothing. I want to be an important person for Roma, and Roma really understand that’s what I want to do."
You have already spoken to the club...
“Yes, I spoke with sporting director Monchi, we had a great chat and took the time to get to know each other better. I also talked with President Pallotta, especially about small things that were not clear from discussions in previous years. But we made everything clear, we talked calmly and afterwards we were both happy with our conversations. Now we want to do what we can to take this team as high as possible.”
Have you spoken with Di Francesco?
“Yes, we talked, I have long had a great relationship with him. I also saw him a lot when he was not the Roma coach. He’s a great person, a top man and I am sure he will bring a lot to this team."
So, Francesco, what do we call you?
“Francesco, like always.”
But what’s written on your business card?
“Francesco, AS Roma.”