I have seen grown men cry. #TottiDay

The news reached every end of the globe, football-worshipping nations and non. Francesco Totti of the A.S. Roma, after 28 years of gifting us some soccer’s most emotional moments donned the maroon and gold shirt for the last time on Sunday, May 28, 2017.

totti
Francesco Totti in action.

 

What ensued was something akin to a funeral. 70,000 adoring fans filled the Olympic Stadium of Rome to bid “il Capitano” farewell. Francesco himself gave an emotional speech from a letter he wrote that yanked at the heart-strings of all who listened. Grown men bawled unrestrained. I, cooly indifferent to most things soccer, shed a tear. How could one not?

Totti the Fuoriclasse

Totti was (is?!) not just a fuoriclasse that will go down in soccer history as a legendary player. The emotion a Totti goal incites in a die hard Roma fan is something other-worldly. Have you ever heard that visceral, glass-shattering “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL!!!!!!!!!!!” after a Totti goal during Roma-Lazio derby? My friend, you haven’t lived.

His very person has become a symbol of Rome. Men, women and children from the capital and beyond grew up watching him play over nearly three decades – always with the same shirt. Beyond his undeniable talent, it was his dedication to his home team that made him particularly loved. While it is normal in soccer for players to move from team to team – Totti stayed put. He was born in Rome, lived in Rome, and he played for Rome. In a city where Popes and Emperors once reigned, we had our own king.

totti re di roma
Fans add “Totti” at the Re di Roma (King of Rome) Metro Stop Sign on the A Line

 

What’s next for Totti?

At 40, Totti has had a long and successful career. Still, we’re devastated to know we won’t see him play another game for A.S. Roma. In a cake-cutting ceremony televised after his emotional addio he left his fans with some hope. He said:

“La lettera mica è finita – manca un punto, prosegue dicendo che continuo. Continuo, continuo: non so dove ma continuo”.

“The letter isn’t over — it’s missing a part, it goes on to say that I will continue. I’l continue, I’ll continue: I don’t know where, but I will continue.”

We sure hope so, Totti!

Here’s the full event, with commentary in English:

Totti Goal Compilation:

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