Blog Written by Joshua O'Byrne (@JobJobBinks):
The recent saga between Roma and Francesco Totti has been well documented. Roma's club legend has reportedly been unhappy about his playing time this season while also reportedly having numerous heated arguments with Spalletti. Initially Roma's president, James Pallotta, wanted to see Totti retire and take up a role among the clubs board of directors. However, after some great performances and crucial goals for Roma in recent games, Totti is expected to be rewarded with a new contract by the Giallorossi. This saga between Spalletti and Totti has been running since February and it seems to be finally drawing to a close as the end of the season approaches. So let's take a look at how the arguments between Totti and Spalletti began.
It started back in February before Roma's game against Palermo. Spalletti said in his press conference that Totti could start the match. However, unknown to Spalletti at the time, Totti was giving an interview lamenting his lack of playing time under Spalletti. When Spalletti heard the interview he decided that the veteran playmaker was out of order and left him out of the squad for Roma's match against Palermo, which they won 5-0. So it seemed that Spalletti was right for the time being and Roma did not need to rely on Totti. At that time it looked very likely that Totti would leave Roma at the end of the season turning down the club's offer to be a director. Totti felt that he could still play while Roma doubted his athletic ability preferring him to take up a management role at the club. This caused some friction between the club and the fans, with the club taking Spalletti's side and the fans standing by their hero, cheering Totti at every opportunity and jeering Spalletti.
However, a loss of form prompted Spalletti to introduce Totti from the bench against Bologna at half time with Roma 1-0 down. Il Capitano proved effective providing the crucial assist for the equalizer. The following week against Atalanta, Spalletti again introduced Totti from the bench and he scored a last gasp equalizer to rescue a point for the Giallorossi. After the game against Atalanta, Spalletti and Totti reportedly had another heated argument. Totti, out to prove a point that he was still able to perform at the highest level, made his mark against Torino. Roma were 2-1 down with 10 minutes to go and Totti was brought on to rescue Roma. He did not fail to deliver scoring two goals to give Roma all 3 points and push them towards second place. In his last 5 games, Totti has 4 goals and 1 assist and it seems he has proved Spalletti wrong with his performances on the pitch. Totti has once again showed his importance to Roma.
Totti is adamant to continue playing and it seems that a new contract at Roma is increasingly likely but where could he end up if the Lupi decide against keeping him. Totti would not be short of offers if he does leave Roma as there are a number of clubs interested in him. The New York Cosmos, Al Jazira, UAE and even Leicester City have all been linked with the Roma icon. It's hard to imagine Totti wearing a shirt that's not Roma's however and he is expected to sign a new contract with the Giallorossi and stay for at least one more year. Perhaps this new role off the bench is more suited to Totti now given his age and Roma will certainly have to sign a striker next season if they are to challenge for the title.
For now, anyway, Roma fans will be happy to have their icon stay at the club for another season. As Spalletti once said, "It would be easier to move the Colosseum out of Rome" rather than move Totti out of Roma and as it turns out Spalletti is one hundred percent right…