If you don’t watch Italian football much, chances are you don’t rate Francesco Totti as highly as you should. However, it doesn’t change the fact that players like the former Italy international come once in a generation. Totti isn’t just a great player, he personifies loyalty in football. In his prime, the AS Roma legend was unarguably one of the best players in the world and suited by many European powerhouses such as Real Madrid and Manchester United, but Totti never entertained the idea of leaving his beloved club despite them not doing very well domestically and in Europe.
Totti is respected by the who’s who of the footballing world. His brilliance on the field over the years has been acknowledged by the modern-day greats – Messi and Ronaldo and also the all-time greats such as Pele and Maradona. Over the years, he has earned words of praise from legendary managers such as Arrigo Sacchi, Sir Alex Ferguson and Giovanni Trapattoni as well as the likes of Jose Mourinho and Pep Guardiola.
Here’s a few quotes on Totti who will go down in the history books as one of the greatest Italian players to grace the field.
“Totti is Totti, he is the greatest Italian player and our captain. We will keep him tight. He comes before everything. He is the best player with whom I have ever worked. He could have won several Ballons d’Or had he left Roma for Barcelona or Manchester United. I have also worked with Frank Lampard and Alessandro Del Piero, but Francesco is the better player.”
– Claudio Ranieri
“Totti is the world’s number one.”
“Totti is the only current player I would’ve taken on my 1982 World Cup side.
– Enzo Bearzot
“Totti is an artist of football, a true Number 10, just like I was.
– Michel Platini
“I’ve always admired him because he’s the business. He’s an example to us all. Totti deserves all the applause he gets. He’s given so much to the game over so many years so it’s right that the fans should express their admiration for him.”
– Sergio Ramos
“I want to compliment Francesco Totti, scoring 206 goals is a great achievement. It does not matter that he has beat me as he is a great player.”
– Roberto Baggio
“Francesco Totti is impressive. He is an example for all and someone we all look up to. He demonstrates that age is not important in football: if you feel good, you enjoy it. If you play at the level he does it’s good for him, for football and also for the children, because we give them the idea that football has no limits.”
– Cristiano Ronaldo
“A great player! What a phenomenon!”
“Totti is better than Baggio and Del Piero, even better than me.
– Gianni Rivera
“As a boy, I was ecstatic just to see him play. At 38, he still does amazing things on the pitch. I think I’m destined to be ‘Captain Future’ forever – he is the all-time captain.”
– Daniele de Rossi
“Francesco Totti has probably been the best player in the last decade. His skills, ability, physical strength and intelligence on the pitch made him a symbol for Roma and the whole of Italian football.
– Paolo Rossi
“The God of Rome. I’ve never seen anything like it. As a football player he’s not quick and he’s 38-years old now but he has his technique and ambition, and a touch that’s God’s gift.”
– John Arne Riise
“There are many star players in Italy, but the only one I would bring to Bayern Munich would be Totti. I know him well and he deserves to win the Ballon d’Or.
– Franz Beckenbauer
“Totti has the technique of a South American and deserved to win a few more trophies with his Roma team. In fact, he also deserved to win the Ballon d’Or. He is an extraordinary player. In Italy it’s not easy for kids to come up through the youth academy and impose themselves on the first team, but he managed it and became the symbol of Roma. Totti manages to think with his feet and would’ve done great things with my Roma side in 1982-83.
– Paulo Roberto Falcão
“Francesco is an immortal player. If he is in these conditions, with the technical skills and talent he has, he is the player that can make the difference in any situation and at any age. With the way he is playing now, he is proving, if he ever had to prove anything, that he has always been and continues to be a champion.”
– Gianluigi Buffon
“Totti is the monument of Italian football.”
– Marcello Lippi
“For me, he is one of the greatest players I have ever seen.
– Arrigo Sacchi
“Only Gigi Riva could kick the ball like him in Italy. But only with his left foot. Totti can use both feet and can hit the ball in several ways. Such champions can shoot ten times per match and eight of them are aimed on target, while five are very dangerous and can turn into a goal. Totti’s shooting qualities are unique and they will stay intact for life.
– Fabio Capello
“When I played for Roma I sat on the bench and Totti was on the field. And it’s still the same! Anyone still playing at the age of 38 has a great passion for this sport. That’s phenomenal. Normally at the age of 38, a professional player has earned enough money and quits. Totti still plays and that’s because he loves this game.”
– Pep Guardiola
“Every player has some genius, but there’s only one Van Gogh, and there is nobody like Totti.”
– Giovanni Trapattoni
“Totti was without doubt Baggio’s heir. Even then I knew that he had the qualities to be so and his career and his numbers confirm it.”
– Dino Zoff
“You know more than me what Totti means for Roma, for the Serie A, and for his team-mates. I want him to play because he’s the best player in the Italian championship in terms of spectacle and quality of play.
“Of course I know Totti is one of the most fantastic players.”
“Totti is a top, top class player. He is typical of the Roman game and I’m sure he will never move outside of Roma. He used to play in behind the strikers and then one day they had no central striker so they played him up front and won game after game. He suddenly became the topscorer in Italy as a central striker. That means this guy has absolutely everything. He has a fantastic protection of the ball, he has a quick turn and then he has a very good pass in the final third of the pitch. He can be deadly with every single pass. He will certainly be the most dangerous provider in the final third for them in this game. He is not the only player who can be dangerous but he can open the defence with any pass at any moment of the day if you give him the freedom.”
– Arsene Wenger
“Totti is the best player in the world. He has just been a little unlucky in the past.
“I agree with Pelé, Totti is the best player in the world.”
– Luciano Spalletti
“Totti is a great player who gave so much for Roma and still can give. He is the player who managed the best, especially from the physical point of view, he can remain a very important player to the team.”
– Carlo Ancelotti
“He is not only the King of Rome, but of the world. He is unique and it’s a pleasure to have players like Totti in the side.”
– Luis Enrique
“I had the good fortune to train him for a few months and that was an honour. He is an exemplary professional and is breaking all records at Roma, regardless of age. Totti is a real champion and always manages to achieve his objectives. He’s also a great man.”
– Cesare Prandelli
“Who are the best five Italian players? Totti, Totti, Totti, Totti, Totti.”
– Zdeněk Zeman
“Totti is still the number one in Italy and among the first in Europe.”
– Roberto Mancini
“Totti is more than a simple player for Roma. He is outstanding, the team’s real standard bearer.”
– Laurent Blanc
“Totti is a fantastic player, when you lose a player like him is like losing more than one.
– Luiz Felipe Scolari
“I’ve spoke about Francesco so many times I think I’m falling in love with him – my wife is quite jealous. I have a special relationship with him and we’ve got on very well right from the very start. He’s always behaved well and I’ve been lucky to have known him while he was still playing. It was a great pleasure to coach him.”
– Luis Enrique
“Francesco is not only a formidable player – a “fuoriclasse” as you say in Italy – but also a man with great qualities outside of football. For me he is one of the very best players in the history of the sport. What I would really love is to win something with him at Roma.”
– Rudi Garcia