Francesco Totti has played down his angry reaction to being substituted against Inter Milan and pledged his commitment to Roma.
Totti was taken off in the 76th minute of Saturday’s Serie A clash and promptly marched straight down the tunnel before leaving the Stadio Olimpico without celebrating the 1-0 win, which came courtesy of a last-minute goal from his replacement Mirko Vucinic.
The former Italy playmaker, 34 today, is believed to be frustrated at coach Claudio Ranieri’s reluctance to play him for the full 90 minutes but said today he would not let the issue fester.
Totti said: "I would have loved to celebrate my birthday with a goal but I got a gift from Vucinic. The victory may be the turning point.
"I have never been nor will I ever be a problem for Roma.
"I hope to celebrate many more birthdays by wearing this shirt that I love so much."
Totti’s loyalty to Roma – he has spent his entire career in the capital – means fans were quick to defend his actions at the weekend but former Lazio skipper Paolo Di Canio was not impressed.
Di Canio said: "I find it incredible what Totti did when he was replaced.
"All of us are angry in similar circumstances but I would have never left the pitch that way.
"It is disrespectful to the players who remain on the field.
"Perhaps talk to the coach afterwards but it is the job of the captain to stay close to the team.
"He should have stayed on the touchline cheering on his companions.
"But he was selfish because he thinks he is protected. When he went off Roma seemed to be like a team with everyone working hard."