Francesco Totti may be the ‘King of Rome’ but his influence stretches far beyond the Italian capital. Following the Roma legend’s last appearance for the club on Sunday, Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos paid his dues to one of the greats of football’s modern era. Ramos, nearly a decade younger than Totti at 31, says that the famous one-club man had the ability to play for any other big team of the day.
Pele, Diego Maradona, Alex Ferguson and a host of famous football personalities have paid tribute to Roma legend Francesco Totti throughout his storied career. Below is a selection of their thoughts on the 40-year-old Italian icon, who retired after completing his 25th and final season with the Serie A club on Sunday.
Alex Ferguson, formerly Manchester United manager: “Totti is the symbol of Roma, just like Ryan Giggs was at Manchester United.” Argentina legend Diego Maradona: “At his best, Totti was the world’s number one.” Totti on Maradona’s appraisal of Totti: “After Maradona said I was the best player he’d seen in his life, I can retire now too.”
Retired Liverpool great Steven Gerrard on Totti: “I think he would agree that I play football for the people, and to make the people happy. The most important thing for me is to win and have success and share it with my people, the people of my city. That’s what makes me want to play football and win, and I’m sure Francesco, over the years, his buzz and his happiness come from making the Roma people happy. And that’s where we’re similar.”
Torino coach Sinisa Mihajlovic, a former rival at Lazio, on Totti: “If you ask me, Totti has been the best player in Italian football for the past 20 years. And I’m sure he’ll be just as influential on the other side of the pitch.” Teammate Daniele De Rossi on Totti: “He can’t complain because he’s played for so long, we can’t complain about the feats he’s let us enjoy watching, and we have enjoyed them. With his skills, which I envy, he’ll still be playing exactly the same way when he’s 50 and having a kickabout with friends.”
Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri on Totti: “We owe him big thanks for what he’s achieved because it’s top level footballers who make the game beautiful. After 20 unforgettable years, it’s a special moment for him and the fans, but he will remain a part of Roma’s history. I wish him well for the future.”