Francesco Totti is an Italian footballer and often regarded as one of the finest footballers of the country. Totti is one of the few players who have played for one club throughout their professional life and is currently into his 24th season with Roma. Totti was a keen follower of football since childhood and joined the youth ranks of Roma as a 13 year old. He is regarded as one of Roma’s most iconic players for more than two decades. Totti started off as an attacking midfielder but also played as a striker for both his club and country during his illustrious career. He was one of the vital members of the Italian World Cup winning squad that won the tournament held in Germany in 2006 and his role as a playmaker was widely lauded. Totti is also the youngest ever player to have become the full time captain of a club and remains one of the most iconic players to have played for the club.
Childhood & Early Life
Francesco Totti was born on 27 September 1976 in Rome, Italy to Lorenzo Totti and his wife Fiorella Totti. Not much is known about the occupation of Totti’s parents but his mother did take an active interest in his early career as a footballer.
He was a fan of Italian footballer Giusseppe Giannini and started playing football as a child. He used to be a street footballer in his childhood and it was not before 8 that he joined the youth system of the club named Fortitude. Subsequently, he played for the youth teams at Smit Trastevere and Lodigani.
In 1989, Totti entered the youth set up at Roma after he impressed the scouts of several clubs. In fact, AC Milan were also interested in him but his mother did not allow him to live in Milan and even though the other Rome based club Lazio were all set to get him, one of the youth coaches at Roma convinced his parents to let him join Roma.
After playing for the youth teams at Roma, Totti was handed his senior team debut on 28, March, 1993 when he was 16 and two years after making his debut, he became a regular in the team. During that period he netted 16 times for the club and became an integral member of the Roma line up.
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Totti developed into an attacking midfielder following the appointment of Zdenak Zeman as manager of Roma in 1997 and during that season, he set up a number of goals for his team and scored 8 goals of his own as Roma finished the season at the fourth position. The following year on 31 October, Totti was appointed the captain of the club.
In 1998, he made his debut for the Italian national team in a qualifying game for the European Championships. Two years later, at the European Championships, Totti scored two goals as Italy ended up runners up to France> In 2002 Totti could not score a single goal at the World Cup in Japan and Korea, and were knocked out by hosts South Korea in the round of 16.
In 2001, Totti helped Roma win the Italian league title as he scored 8 goals in the league in his position as attacking midfielder and brought the league title back to the club after a gap of 18 years. For the next four years till manager Fabio Capello left, Totti continued to be a prolific striker for Roma but the club could not win any major trophies.
In 2004, he led Italy at the European Championships but he was banned till the semi final stage, after his spat with a player in the game against Denmark and Italy crashed out in the first round of the tournament. Two years later at the World Cup in Germany, Totti was one of Italy’s most important players as he scored 1 goal but set up 4 more as the national team won the title. He announced his retirement from international football the following year and in spite of expressing interest to play for Italy at different times he didn’t ever play for the team.
From the season that started in 2005, Totti started playing a far more important role as he became Roma’s striker. The following season he notched up 26 league goals and also helped the club win two back to back Coppa Italia titles. Over the next three reasons, Totti suffered from injuries and a lack of form but remained the most influential personality at the club.
He returned to form towards the end of 2011 after he was handed back his starting spot in the team and the following season under manager Luis Enrique, he started playing as the ‘playmaker’ for the side. Over the next 3 seasons, Totti continued to be a part of the Roma side but the club did not win any trophies during that period. Totti holds the record for the highest number of appearances for Roma with 748 and is also the highest goal scorer for the club with a tally of 300 goals in all competitions till date.
Awards & Achievements
He was included in the FIFA 100 by Pele, which is a list of the greatest living footballers.
He is the second highest goal scorer in the history of the Italian league, known as Serie A with a total of 244 goals.
Totti has made 593 appearances in the Italian league, which is the 3rd highest.
Personal Life & Legacy
Francesco Totti got married to TV show host Ilary Blasi on 19 June 2005. They have a son, Cristian and a daughter, Chanel.