Francesco Totti: Player Profile

Roma Legend Totti Looking To Inspire Roma In Europe 

Personal information  
Full name: Francesco Totti
Date of birth: 27 September 1976
Age: 38
Place of birth: Rome, Italy
Height: 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Playing position: Attacking midfielder

Club information 
Current team: Roma
Number: 10

Youth career 1984: Fortitudo 
1984–1986: Smit Trastevere 
1986–1989: Lodigiani 
1989–1992: Roma

Senior career1992– Roma: 565 Appearances, 236 goals

National team 1992 Italy: U15 6 Appearances, 3 goals
1991–1992: Italy U16 13 Appearances, 2 goals 
1993–1995: Italy U18 14 Appearances, 7 goals 
1995–1997: Italy U21 8 Appearances, 4 goals 
1997 Italy: U23 4 Appearances, 2 Goals 
1998–2006: Italy 58 Appearances, 9 goals

It’s been quite the journey for Roma’s veteran Francesco Totti. The Roma icon’s record on English soil is bewilderingly bad but against all odds the Italian playmaker scored the equalizer in a 1-1 draw away to Man City in the Champions League a fort night ago. 

Totti turned 38 on 27 September but his contract runs through until June 2016 and he has spoken of his ambition to play on until the age of 40. Why not? He’s enjoying himself in a Roma team that’s not only back in the Champions League but sits second in Serie A after an imperious start to the season that’s seen them win five of their six matches. Wednesdays’s trip to Germany will be the biggest test yet. Surely Bayern fans would begrudge the old master turning it on.

In the 23rd minute of Roma's visit to Manchester City, Totti was put through on goal by Radja Nainggolan and he proceeded to lift a beautiful lob over Joe Hart to become the oldest scorer in the competition's history. This also proved to be Totti's first Champions League goal in nearly four years, the last was against Bayern Munich in November 2010. 

Francesco Totti's Roma legend has grown since making his debut for the Serie A side as a 17-year-old. Twenty years ago, Totti scored for the first time for Roma, capitalising on a knock-down to slot home against Foggia. Since then, Totti has amassed 236 goals for the club and has become an iconic figure in Rome. He's also became a rare figure of club solidarity, never leaving Roma since his debut. 

Every great player is a product of his age, a cultural touchstone created by his surroundings, the style of the day, the support he gets and no small amount of serendipity. Francesco Totti’s story is the stuff of football fairytale, even if by today's reductive, win-driven standards, it might not seem so at first. 

He’s only lifted the Scudetto once and the biggest team he has played for is Roma. He's never won the Champions League and has never even won the Ballon d’Or. But vacuous talk of big-money moves, trophies won and individual awards all miss the point when it comes to true greatness. They're too easily quantifiable. Try as you might, you can’t count talent, or tally up ability.

To appreciate a player's true worth, you must see past the medals. To know true greatness is simply to look on it. Like true love, you just know when you know. Totti's talent has an immense, almost reckless, natural quality. And it's been on constant show for the world to see, ever since 28 March 1993. 

Call it an Indian summer, or a swan song, but this season we’re seeing a revival of one of the last great fantasisti (great Italian number 10’s), and football fans around the world should rejoice in that, because there's no one else like him. He’s not the quickest, or the strongest. He’s prone to injury, and at 38, who knows what the future holds for his aging bones. 

Others players are less idiosyncratic, and throughout the season will be more prolific. But his game’s never been about prolificacy, even though he is the Serie A’s second highest goalscorer after spending half his career in midfield. His gift has always been the ability to create, when no one else could. 

While Totti was the top scorer in 2006/07 and the winner of the European Golden Shoe for his 26 Serie A goals, the veteran is now more provider than goalscorer. Just 38 goals short of Silvio Piola’s Italian record, the emphasis has shifted nevertheless. Nobody had more Serie A assists last year despite him starting only 20 matches. His current role seems to be suiting him. 

The return to Champions League action after an absence of three-and-a-half years was a glorious triumph with Totti pulling the strings in a convincing 5-1 win over CSKA Moscow at the Stadio Olimpico. Playing as a withdrawn striker with the pace of Gervinho and, initially, Juan Iturbe cutting in off wings, the Russian side had no answer. 

The restrictions of an ageing body mean that this performance in Europe was one of only six outings so far this season. Coach Rudi Garcia is managing his work load with the Champions League in mind. Importantly, Roma are winning with and without him.

Totti's art has been to entertain and inspire a city for two decades and to dazzle crowds around the world. It's not every player, after all, who gets standing ovations from the opposition's fans. No one else could replace him. Here, he’s fuoriclasse—beyond classification. He is, as the announcer in the Stadio Olimpico puts it, both the No. 10 and the No. 1.