Francesco Totti.

Roma release montage of Francesco Totti's goals throughout 23-year career

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According to the Professional Footballers' Association (PFA), the average age of retirement for a player is 35 - but try telling that to Francesco Totti.

Twenty-four years on from making his senior debut for AS Roma, with whom he still resides as their captain, and the Italian is celebrating his 40th birthday and playing as if he hasn't aged at all.

From a youngster who dreamed of making the big time and emulating his hero, Giuseppe Giannini, Totti has established himself as an all-time great and one of football's best ever strikers.


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It's a testament to his devotion to Roma and sheer desire to continue playing that he's still able to find the back of the net on a regular basis, having scored and assisted two goals each already in Serie A this season.

So, how exactly do you go about celebrating such an incredible milestone?

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In the video below, Roma have marked Totti's birthday with a quite fantastic montage featuring one goal from each of his 23 seasons at the club.

Totti loves a chipped finish, doesn't he?

Birthday wishes and tributes have flooded the Italian on his special day - and rightly so - yet it all could have been so different.

You see, Totti came within inches of joining Real Madrid in 2003, which would have seen his status as a one-club man tarnished.

He would eventually decide to stay in Rome but, in an interview with Sky Italia, he revealed just how close he came to leaving 13 years ago.


He said: "I was about to go [to Real Madrid] in 2003, even if it's not true that I was in Spain, but then my heart, my friends and the family helped me reflect on it, and fortunately I am still here to tell the tale.

"And then when there were problems with the penultimate contract I signed, I really thought about changing club.

"I don't know how I have made it here. Maybe it's because I don't have any vices, I'm still intact and I still have that desire, passion and determination to go on enjoying myself."

Totti also had a message for those who have wished him well on his 40th birthday.


"I'd like to thank everybody from my heart," he added. "I would never have expected a tribute like this.

"I want to thank my colleagues, other sportspeople, world icons who have really gratified me a lot.

"I wanted to turn my phone off this morning and throw a sickie so I wouldn't have to see anybody, but I instead decided to cherish all of the beautiful things from today."

We salute you, Francesco.

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AS Roma
Real Madrid
Serie A
UEFA Champions League
Francesco Totti
Italy Football

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