Italian football was left somewhat shocked this morning when midway through the official unveiling of AS Roma's new home kit, their captain and club icon Francesco Totti stated, "this will be my last Roma shirt."
The announcement has come completely out of the blue with some Italian football correspondents under the impression that the experienced forward was actually quite close to signing a new contract with the club. Needless to say this morning's statement by Totti has caused quite the stir.
It comes at a time where AS Roma find themselves in a difficult position off the field with many of their key players attracting interest with Daniele De Rossi heavily linked to Chelsea and Pablo Osvaldo reportedly on the respective radars of Manchester City and Southampton.
Supporters certainly fear the sale of their most prized assets with he club's performance on the field not being up to scratch last season after finishing sixth in Serie A and losing in the Italian Cup final to fierce rivals Lazio.
Roma have however moved to strengthen their side this summer with Dinamo Zagreb last night confirming the sale of talented defender Tin Jedvaj to Roma subject to FIFA clearing the transfer, with PSV Eindhoven's central midfielder Kevin Strootman rumoured to be close to a move to the Olimpico this summer.
With Roma short in the forward line after a move for Alberto Gilardino recently collapsed in the past days it will be a huge worry that they may be without Totti after the 2013-2014 campaign with the forward having been a mainstay in the AS Roma first team set-up since his breakthrough into the side over two decades ago in 1993.
Totti now 36, has over the past 20 years amassed 535 appearances for the first team, scoring 227 goals and it will be a real loss to Italian football when' Il Capitano' calls it quits.
However despite Totti's public statements this morning there has been much debate as to whether or not Totti was speaking truthfully or merely trying to force the Roma management into completing the details of his new contract.
As previously mentioned it was the general consensus that a new deal for Totti was being worked on by the Roma management team and that it would be announced shortly however several Italian correspondents have today stated that this offer has not been forthcoming, much to the dismay of Totti himself.
This has forced his hand in making a public statement of his retirement to the supporters in order to force the management staff into making an official offer of his new contract.
Totti's current deal with Roma ends in June 2014 and Roma's new jersey which Totti claimed will be his last will only be used for a maximum of one League campaign with Nike replacing Kappa as AS Roma's kit manufacturer from the 2014-2015 season which guarantees a new kit design for that season.
Others have dismissed Totti words this morning merely as jest with those individuals more than confident that a deal to tie Totti to the club for the foreseeable future all but complete and this statement was really used to build tension within the supporters only for the announcement of Totti's new deal to bring joy to them at a difficult time amidst the relentless rumours of departures from their best players.
We will see how Roma's American management team react to Totti's statement at this morning's kit launch and if a new deal is not signed by Totti in the coming weeks then it may well be the case that the iconic Italian is truthfully calling time on what has been an illustrious and trophy laden career.
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