Grazie Capitano: A short ode to Francesco Totti

Francesco Totti. No words can do justice to what that name represents to legions of Roma fans around the world. Indeed, every accolade and every honour about Totti has already been said a thousand times over, and yet that is still no way close to summing up how Roma fans like myself feel about the greatest player in Roma’s history.

To say he is a symbol of Rome is an understatement. He is a symbol of everything that is good about football. Skill, talent, loyalty, passion, flair, commitment, honesty, love. Quite simply the greatest footballer I have ever seen play and one which we will likely never see the likes of again. He is a once in a lifetime player, once in a century, even, and he is a dying breed of all that is great about the game we love.

Having first seen Totti play in the late 90’s, I was captivated by what he could do with a football. His skill, his passing, his flair and his extraordinary ability to see things on a football pitch that no one else could fathom made him stand out like no other. Then there were the adoring fans who cheered on their icon from the Curva Sud.

​The connection Totti has to the city, his city, and the tifosi, cannot be emphasised enough. Roma is and always will be different from any other club. Its history and tradition is what sets it apart. The fervent, passionate fan base is like no other in the world, and once it enters your blood it remains with you forever. It is not discussed, it is loved. From Ago, Conti, Losi, Giannini and Amadei (and De Rossi too, Florenzi to come), Roma has had its fair share of legends. And yet there is one man that stands above all others, a bandiera for all the ages. Totti has represented the people of Roma for more than 25 years, and will continue to do so long after he hangs up his boots.

To think that today is the last day Totti will ever play for Roma is incomprehensible. Indeed, for a long time (up until this week, when he finally confirmed it himself on Twitter), I could not admit he was coming to the end. At 40 years of age and with legs which no longer moved like they once did, I knew in my head it must finally be happening, despite the flashes of magic which remained, yet I could still not say it aloud. Totti may be finishing his playing career for Roma, but for me and many others, he is immortal. He will represent Roma forever, he will represent all that is good about football forever. When the final whistle blows we will shed a tear, but we will smile because he will remain in our hearts forever.

Grazie Capitano, Francesco Totti, mio Capitano per sempre. 

Words by Ed Moynihan @Forza27_RS

Ed is an Irishman with a passion for all things Giallorossi. A graphic designer and design consultant by trade, you can explore lots of calcio-related art at at www.Forza27.com.