No matter what team a fan might support, there are some players that one just can't help but love.
Francesco Totti might be the ultimate definition of that type of player. At least, he was.
Roma's No. 10 called him on his career yesterday with 307 goals in 786 appearances - both club records - in the books after 25 seasons.
Although Totti has undeniable class and talent, the fierce loyalty he has shown his boyhood club is what has captured hearts all around the world and made the playmaking forward so revered.
He could have played for anyone in the world. Real Madrid badly wanted him in his prime. He could have won so much more than the sole league title he has to his name. But, playing for Roma meant everything.
Since football became so commercialised and money-centric in the mid-1990s, it's rare for a player to show such unwavering loyalty and love for a club. But as Totti once said: "Winning one league title at Roma to me is worth winning 10 at Juventus or Real Madrid."
On Sunday, the 40-year-old donned the Stadio Olimpico for the final time in his professional career as the Giallorossi defeated Genoa 3-2 to secure Champions League football next season with a second-place finish in Serie A - the ninth time Totti has been a runner-up.
As you can see from the videos below, there is barely a dry eye in the house as the long-serving captain does his lap of honour and especially as he embraces his family. It's truly heartwarming:
Addressing the crowd after his final appearance, Totti used an analogy to explain just how much he didn't want to retire, but he knew he had to.
“Do you know that feeling of being a kid, and dreaming about something beautiful, but then your mum wakes you up to go to school when you only wanted to carry on sleeping?” he asked. “You try to hold on to the thread of the story you were caught up in, but you can’t do it. This time it’s not a dream. It’s real life.”
Thank you, Francesco.
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