By Salvatore Siviero (Goldenfoot)
Francesco Totti is officially the successor of Ronaldinho on the Walk of Fame of football in Monte Carlo. The prestigious award created by Antonio Caliendo, goes to AS Roma leader who beat Raul Gonzales Blanco and Davis Beckham, confirming its popularity worldwide. 25,000 preferences for the 2006 World Champion mean a lot for Italian football too , it seen the lack of satisfactions Italy had in football in recent times. Francesco speaks to www.goldenfoot.com, explaining emotions and dreams like the one to finally get the Champions League to Rome!
Q: What did you think when you received the Golden Foot from the hands of the Prince Albert II of Monaco?
A: It ‘been a great satisfaction. It ‘s a very important award and I am honoured to have received it from the hands of Prince Albert II.
Q: These days with Prandelli launching the new course of the national team, it comes again the questions about you. You said no to Italia in 2007 before the game against Hungary. What do you remember of that time?
A: I decided after the World Cup final in Germany. It ‘been a hard decision but right at that moment. I have done it because I want to give my best to my club, AS Roma.
Q: Let’s talk about your stuff: Who is the best player of the world?
A: Messi is definitely the best.
Q: You are the icon of the Roma fans. You’ve won a lot but not the Champions League. Would you leave “your” Roma to win the most prestigious continental trophy in the future?
A: I want to stay in Rome and finish my career in the team I ever played for. I love my club; I always supported it. I want to win the Champions League with my shirt, the red and yellow Rome jersey.
Q: What ‘s the best time of your experience with Roma, and the player with which you found yourself better?
A: The best moment was winning the league in 2001. It was the realization of a dream. I played with many stars. Giving you just a few names would be not nice.
Q: Would you be a coach?
A: No, not at the moment. I think more of a managerial career, but I hope in a long time. I still want to play.
Q: Any regrets in your career?
A: Everyone has regrets. I wanted to win more. But now I can win the best trophy with my team…
Q: Many teams wanted Totti. It has often been spoken of AC Milan. Have you ever been close to the Rossoneri?
A: Yes, but I decided to stay in Rome forever.
Q: They always say that football is no longer what it once was. What changed since your debut in Serie A?
A: So much! The game is faster than 17 years ago. Off the field I have seen a growing interest of television. Let’s say that now, football is more entertainment and less real sport.
Q: Talking about the past, who inspired you in the beginning of your career?
A: Giannini, “the Prince”. He was skillful, roman, “romanista” (Roma fan) and Roma captain. He was my idol.
Q: At the time you were in the youth team you had the opportunity to choose between AS Roma and SS Lazio. Why you decided for Roma?
A: What a question … the heart!
Q: Then you grew up becoming the idol of m any fans. You won the World Cup in Germany. What a feeling lifting up that cup!
A: A great satisfaction and revenge for myself. I was even worry to not take at that competition after an incredible injury.
Q: May people still think of you when Italia play.
A: I had to quit for physical reasons.
Q: The “Kaiser” Beckenbauer was alongside with you in Monte Carlo when you got the Golden Foot. What do you think about Totti President of A.S. Roma, like he does at Bayern Munich?
A: No, I just see myself playing as captain of the team.
Q: A.S. Roma means a lot in the world of football. As a symbol of a great team, how you think you fight the racism?
A: I don’t understand racism. I have many black friends and many others have been my opponents. Respect is basic. Unfortunately racism is a social problem, and football belongs to society.
Q: Among the talents you played against in the league, lots of talking is about Marek Hamsik of Napoli. What do you think of him? What did you feel during the World Cup when Slovakia eliminated Italy?
A: Hamsik is a very good footballer. I think in Italy he improved so much, becoming one of the best in his role. Slovakia’s win against Italy was a surprise. Honestly I did not expect it. What a pity!
Q: And the best foreign player in Serie A?
A: We have many good players. Sneijder and Milito have done a lot last year, Ibrahimovic is a very strong one. He is one of the players able to change every game. My teammate Vucinic is among the best.
Q: This year the league is balanced. At least seven teams fighting for the lead. What is the team you like most?
Q: And the team where you’ll end your career?
A: Rome! (Francesco smiles)
Q: Give us some advices for the future. The players of the future in Italy are?
A: I give you two of Rome: Rosi and Okaka.