The football world has said farewell to some legends this month.
Philipp Lahm and Xabi Alonso both played the final game of their stellar careers earlier in the month, while Francesco Totti played said an emotional goodbye to AS Roma after spending 25 years at the club on Sunday.
Il Bimbo de Oro, or The Golden Boy, as he is known in Italy, made his 786th and final appearance in Roma’s 3-2 win over Genoa, coming on to a rapturous reception in the 54th minute.
Totti is now expected to become a Roma director, although there are reports he could continue his career elsewhere.
The 40-year-old delivered a brilliant speech to those packed inside the Stadio Olimpico after the match.
"We're here, the moment has arrived. Unfortunately, the moment has arrived that I hoped would never come," Totti said, per ESPN FC.
"Over the last few days, so much has been said about me, such wonderful things. You were behind me, pushing me on during difficult moments, and that's why I want to say thank you to everyone.
"I cried on my own, like crazy! You can't just forget 25 years like this. I thank everyone, even if this is not easy for me. I spoke to my wife about what these years have been like.
"I thank my mother and father, my brother, family and friends. Thank you to my wife and three children. I wanted to start from this, because I wasn't sure if I'd be able to get to the end of it."
Totti scored 307 goals in all competitions for Roma and is behind only Paolo Maldini in the number of Serie A appearances.
But it’s his commitment to Roma that perhaps stands out as one of his most admired achievements. Totti could have signed for any club in Europe - indeed, Real Madrid wanted to sign him, but chose to stay loyal to the club who he joined at the age of 16.
It’s that loyalty that will perhaps convince young Mattia Almaviva to stay at Roma for the entirety of his career, if he gets the chance.
Almaviva will never forget Totti's final match
Almaviva is the youngest captain in Roma’s youth academy. He was born in 2006, the year Totti won the World Cup with Italy.
And Almaviva will never forget Totti’s final Roma game for the rest of his life.
As Totti said goodbye to the Roma fans after yesterday’s match, he walked towards the centre-circle to wrap his own captain’s armband around Almaviva’s arm.
Roma’s website described it as “a symbolic gesture of hope for the youngsters who dream of one day following in the footsteps of their idol.”
It was an amazing moment. Check it out below.
Watch: Totti passes on his armband to Almaviva
What's your favourite Totti memory? Let us know in the comments section below!
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