Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughEmperor Francesco Totti - A look at the legend - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Emperor Francesco Totti - A look at the legend - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Emperor Francesco Totti – A look at the legend

Back in the days where 2 points were awarded for a win, a young Roman was introduced to the world of football, today he is the Emperor of Rome and we’re going to take a look back through his enigmatic career.

After making his debut away to Brescia at the tender age of 16 the young pretender did not feature consistently until the 1994/95 season where he notched 7 goals in 25 appearances for i Giallorossi. Over the following seasons Totti made a name for himself among the AS Roma supporters, who adored him and classed him as one of them. This loyalty ultimately led to the dismissal of the coach Carlos Bianchi after rumours circulated that he wanted to sell the talismanic youngster to Sampdoria, this move never materialised.

In 1997 under the reign over Zdenek Zeman, Totti was handed the captaincy at the age of 21 and reveled in the spotlight, becoming Serie A Young Player of the Year. Inspired by their new captain, Roma finished an unexpected 4th in the league that season, much improved since the days of Bianchi where they flirted with relegation and ended up 12th.

Totti was coming into his own and although his friend, Zeman, left at the end of the 1998/99 season, Fabio Capello came in to replace him and add structure to the Roman play. Capello built what is perhaps the greatest Roma side to have existed, with a front-line of Totti, Gabriel Batistuta and Vincenzo Montella combined with the masterful wing-play by Cafu and Marco Delvecchio, the team reeked havoc on opposition defences culminating in Serie A glory for the first time in 18 years. Over the next few seasons under Capello, Roma would finish runners-up on two occasions, with Totti continually providing goals and assists for the team during his reign, gradually becoming the greatest player to have worn the yellow and red shirt.

Although his majestic technique and vision – notorious for lobbing goalkeepers – was perfect for the ‘number 10’ role, this drastically inflicted his goal-scoring chances, something which was noted by new manager Luciano Spalletti in 2005. Spalletti utilised Totti’s awareness and composure to great effect, using him as the sole striker in his formation at Roma. This culminated in Totti being top scorer for Roma in 4 out of the 5 seasons that Spalletti remained in charge, bagging an impressive 107 goals in 177 matches under the bald maestro.

Getting into his early thirties and with Spalletti leaving the club, Totti reverted back to his previous role as playmaker and though injuries are starting to effect how many games he plays, this season has shown class is permanent. Scoring 12 times and laying on the same amount for his teammates, Totti had one of his most consistent Serie A seasons to date and in doing so became the leagues second highest scorer of all-time behind the legendary Silvio Piola.

This, however, is just part of the reason he has become a legend in the Eternal City, goal scoring may win titles, but it is his loyalty and passion that makes the fans sing his name. In 2006 after fracturing his leg he risked missing out on the World Cup in order to help his boyhood club in the Coppa Italia final against Internazionale. After scoring against fierce city rivals Lazio in 1999 he revealed a shirt to the Lazio supporters that read “Vi ho purgato ancora”, or “I’ve purged you guys again” in reference to his performance in the previous derby where he helped Roma come back from 3-1 down to draw 3-3.

His most notable asset though is the loyalty he shows the club, whether it’s playing under managers he may not like, or turning away royalties and riches from clubs abroad, Francesco Totti will always be AS Roma and the fans love him for that. Football is often mocked for the players theatrics or how serious fans take it; Francesco Totti throws those judgements to one side and has become a god among men in the Eternal City. For the past 20 years he has entered his coliseum every Sunday, rain or shine, to fight for what he loves and the freedom for others to love Roma.

All Hail Totti!