Roma captain Francesco Totti is hoping to renew his contract with the club as soon as possible and has not ruled out making an Italy comeback for next year’s FIFA World Cup.
Totti has spent his entire career at Roma, and there was a party atmosphere at the club’s training ground Thursday as players celebrated the 20th anniversary of his Serie A debut.
The 36-year-old Totti’s contract runs out next year and he is keen to sort out a new deal.
”I hope (it is just a formality),” he said. ”Roma president (James) Pallotta arrives next week and we will talk about it directly. But I’m happy the club is showing confidence in me.”
Totti is in great form and scored for the 226th time in the league in Roma’s 2-0 win over Parma on March 17, surpassing Swedish great Gunnar Nordahl for second place on the all-time Serie A list, 48 goals behind Silvio Piola’s record.
After winning the World Cup with Italy in 2006, Totti took a step back from international football because of injury problems, but Italy coach Cesare Prandelli recently opened the door for a possible return.
”So many things could happen between now and next year,” Totti said. ”I think about the present, about doing well and keeping myself in good shape. I don’t have any regrets about leaving the national side because that was the decision I took.
”I had the good fortune to end it in an amazing way, winning the World Cup which is the biggest thing a player can win. Now I am going through a really great time, but I live day by day. But if I’m okay from now until Brazil, then I will talk with Prandelli and we’ll make a decision.”
Totti is wary of playing in a major competition just a few months short of his 38th birthday, however, and fears he could be made a scapegoat if Italy doesn’t do well.
”A World Cup is the maximum, especially in Brazil where football is everything,” Totti said. ”But if things went badly then everyone would know who to blame. They would say, `They have taken an old guy, someone who ruined the squad.”’
Totti made his league debut for Roma as a substitute against Brescia on March 28, 1993. There was a special celebration organized for him at training Thursday to mark the 20th anniversary.
Roma players and directors formed a guard of honor as he walked onto the pitch to the sound of Jovanotti’s song ”Sono un ragazzo fortunate” (I’m a lucky guy). Waiting for him in the middle of the pitch was former Roma great Agostino Di Bartolomei.
There was also a 50-meter banner with the date of his debut and the words: ”And it doesn’t finish here, the best is yet to come.”