Francesco Totti says he left Roma because he was ‘excluded from every decision’ and ‘the main focus of certain people has been to remove Romans’.
“I want to thank [CONI] President Giovanni Malago’ for giving me this opportunity in a beautiful hall that means so much to sportsmen,” he began, speaking from the Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) building.
“I sent an email to say something that felt unimaginable. I wrote my resignation. I was hoping this was not necessary, but the fateful day has arrived, which for me is very ugly and painful.
“Considering the conditions, it was only right that I made this brusque decision, especially as I never had the chance to work on the technical area with Roma.
“I made this decision after several months, but it seemed right. This is a club to be loved and supported. There shouldn’t be pro-Totti, Pro-Pallotta or pro-Baldini factions. Just Roma fans.
“As I said, Presidents pass, Coaches pass, players pass, but the flags do not. I thought long and hard. Let’s just say it was not my fault that I had to make this decision. I don’t know what else to tell you.
“No, I never thought why did I bother? Because Roma is my second home, maybe even my first, as I spent more time at Trigoria than at my house.
“I always put Roma first and wanted to take this club to the top, all over the world, so this was a painful decision.
“It was not my fault because I never had the chance to express myself. I was never involved in a genuine technical project. In the first year, that can happen. In the second, I realised what I wanted to do and we never got together, never helped each other.
“They knew my intentions and what I wanted, to give so much to this club and team, but they never wanted me to, in all honesty. They excluded me from every decision.
“Everyone knows they made me stop playing. They wanted me to stop. I had a six-year contract already as a director. I started quietly, realising it’s a completely different sphere to being on the field.
“Many promises were made and they were never kept. They knew what I wanted. Naturally, as time goes on, you judge, you evaluate, as I too have a character and don’t just sit there doing what they every now and then ask me to do.
“I did it for Roma, but as time wore on, I didn’t think it fair to put myself at the disposal of people who never wanted me to be there.
The main focus of certain people has been to remove Romans from Roma. In the end, the truth came out, because they achieved what they wanted.
“Over the last eight years, since the Americans came in, they tried in every possible way to shove us to one side. As the years went on, they tried everything they could… It’s what they wanted and in the end, they succeeded.”
The club legend became a director in 2017 after over 700 games’ worth of service to Roma, but his influence had been increasingly marginalised by that of external consultant Franco Baldini.
“The rapport with Franco Baldini has never existed and never will. If I made this decision, it’s only normal that there were misunderstandings, problems within the club.
“One of us had to go. I stepped aside because you can’t have too many people sticking their oar in and causing chaos. Everyone should do their own job and leave the others to get on with their own work, that’d allow everything to run smoothly.
“You can do all the talking you want from Trigoria, but the last word always came from London. There was no point telling people what was wrong and what needed fixing, as it was a waste of time. Nobody listened, they just listened to the word from London.
“I think everyone knows the real problems that are within the club right now, above all Financial Fair Play, as we have to sell players by June 30.
“So they have thought about these difficult choices of selling the best players. It’s easier to get money from these players and block up the holes that are in the Financial Fair Play.
“The important thing is to be honest. I always tell the directors, you have to tell the truth, even if it’s ugly.
“In an interview I said once that Roma would finish fourth or fifth, that Juve would win the Scudetto by January. I was told that I was incompetent and robbing dreams from players and fans.
“If you tell the truth and are transparent, you cannot be attacked for what you say. It’s easy to take people for a ride. Seeing as I have always been honest and transparent, I cannot stay here.
“A player can always find an excuse, as when things go badly, he says oh there’s no President here, nobody who tells us how things really are, and this causes problems for the squad every weekend. In my view, it does damage.
“I’ve said before that the President needs to be present more, because when players, directors and staff see the chief, they stand to attention and work the way they ought to. When the boss isn’t there, they start doing what they want.
“That’s true of any work environment. When there’s the Coach, you train hard, when it’s the assistant manager, you don’t give your all.
“If I made this decision, then it means I was unable to do anything. I never felt a part of the project, above all on the technical level. Not to big myself up, but I think I have a good eye to see who is a good player and who isn’t.
“I don’t want to do other things, because this is what I feel that I’m good at. With my experience, and I admit I’ll make mistakes, but I can recognise talent in a player.”
Finally, the 42-year-old was asked whether was any truth in reports of an Arab takeover.
“I often travelled around various continents, above all in the Emirates, Kuwait, Dubai, etc. There are many people who would like to make investments, but until I see it on paper, I don’t believe it.
“What I can say is that Roma are admired and loved all over the world, so everyone would like to own them. I cannot point to individuals who can or cannot buy, because it wouldn’t be fair or accurate.”