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Francesco Totti bows out at Roma in an emotional farewell

Tuesday 30th May 2017
Sunday afternoon saw the final games of the season in the Serie A with Roma securing a second place finish after a late winner, however, all the attention was on one true legend of the game who ended his 24-year career with the Italian club; Francesco Totti.

Totti made his debut for Roma way back in 1993 and has ever since been king at the Stadio Olimpico. Now at the age of 40, his adventure with the club has come to a close and made his final appearance on Sunday afternoon in a 3-2 win in what turned to be a thrilling yet emotional day for everyone involved at the club. Totti started the game on the bench but with his beloved Roma needing a win to secure automatic Champions League qualification, Luciano Spalletti turned to his veteran club captain to bring about the fairytale final game.

Whilst Totti didn't score the winning goal everyone craved he did orchestrate a change in fortune for the side along with a massive lift in the crowd through his introduction. The game seemed flat and lethargic until he was brought into the fold to give the entire team a boost. Certainly, a very honourable way to end his long-running association with the club, every fan was fighting back the tears and even the man himself failed to bottle his emotions after the full-time whistle.
It was a fitting send-off for one of the true greats of modern football. A one-club man so well respected both in and out of Rome, a truly unique and genuine footballer who is so hard to come by. He would have given everything for the club and in so many ways he already has.

The term football "legend" is one very easily used at times but even such a title doesn't quite capture the stature of this man. He is everything Roma and everything Italian football. If you need a player to be the face of either you won't go wrong with Totti.

On Sunday afternoon it was, of course, his day and naturally a day for Roma to wish their greatest ever player a fond farewell, however, it was not just the club from the capital that poured their hearts out to the World Cup winner. Far from it in fact. The real case was that the entire world looked on with a heavy heart at the sight of seeing a real sporting icon depart the club he had spent his life with.

His popularity from all over the world is practically unmatchable. Some feat for a player to have such a universal fan base in an age where so many seem hell bent on arguing over one or another, a certain Messi v Ronaldo debate springs to mind.

With Totti however, it is all appreciation wherever you turn, and rightfully so. What he has done throughout his career has to be admired by all, loyalty at its finest as well as the ability and world class talent to have the world at your feet.  If he wanted to he could have gone to play anywhere in the world during his peak but this was never in his interest. All he wanted was to play for Roma and do everything within his power to win trophies with them. If the trophies weren't being won then so be it, no desire to hunt them elsewhere and leave the club you adore behind. Truly admirable in every right.

There are rumours that Totti is to seek a new challenge in his twilight years with a move across continent seeming the most likely option. He could not bear to play for another European side that may ever be faced against his beloved Roma. If it is to be one more season in the sunset somewhere for the great Italian it is no doubt the football world will watch on with excitement but either way we have seen the last Totti in a Roma shirt, a fact that is extremely difficult to envisage.
Ryan Stewart

23 years old, Sport Journalism graduate living in Salford. Work in web content in Media city and always looking to break in to sports writing. Manchester United season ticket holder.

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