‘Mo je faccio er cucchiaio’, is the title of Francesco Totti’s biography: ‘I’m going to lob it in.’ Those are the legendary words that went through his head just before he had to take a penalty in the semi-final of the European Football Championship. Totti defeated Van der Sar with a Panenka.
Rome is losing its king, said VRT journalist and Totti fan Filip Joos wrote in the Belgian newspaper De Morgen, shortly before his retirement from AS Roma. ‘That’s why he’s always stayed there. Here he was the undisputed king.’
That remained true, even in his twilight years when things slowed down with Totti and he really only came on the field during substitutions: ‘Recently there was a game where the crowd was whistling because the ball didn’t go out’, the article says. Totti was ready to fill in. His shadow hangs over the pitch. That is why it was good he eventually ended his career.
Totti didn’t win very much in his career, but according to his fans it is not because of him, but because of his teammates. The day Francesco Totti won the national championship with Roma, on June 17, 2001, is the most beautiful day of his life for him. And for many Romans with him.