Francesco Totti claims he was ‘stabbed in the back’ by Roma but is not surprised as ‘in two years, I never heard directly from Pallotta or Baldini.’
In the third part of his explosive Press conference, where he announced his departure from Roma, Totti discussed the exit of fellow ‘bandiera’ Daniele De Rossi, Paulo Fonseca’s appointment as Coach and President James Pallotta.
“I never got involved in the De Rossi decision,” he continued.
“I’d already told some directors in September that if you think this is Daniele’s last season, tell him straight away, not like with me where you told me two rounds from the end.
“He is the captain of Roma, he has to be respected. They all said yes, we’ll evaluate, we’ll consider, he got injured, the results weren’t coming, Di Francesco and Monchi left, it all became more complicated.
“The problem at Trigoria is they need to be done straight away, not allowing time to past. People are scared to make decisions. There has to be one person who makes a decision, not 10.
“I talked to Daniele as a friend, not as a director. I told him to look forward, look beyond. I was a Roma director, I couldn’t say too much, but as a friend, I gave him advice that there could be problems on the horizon.
“The problems did arrive, just as they did with me. What I don’t understand is if they did this because it’s what they wanted to do or if they just didn’t think about it.
“From what I’ve seen, it’s what they have always wanted: to remove the Romans from Roma.
“I never contacted Maurizio Sarri. I don’t know what his objectives or evaluations were, just that Sarri was a favourite of Baldini. Of course, he’s a great Coach who would’ve done well here, but he was under contract with Chelsea.
“Anyway, this is irrelevant. We should talk about the present. Fonseca has to find an environment that is relaxed, with a clear path ahead of him.
“People already admire him for how he put himself at the disposal of the Coach. From what I’ve seen, he is a fine Coach who can do well and was very impressive at Shakhtar.
“Conte would’ve had to come here and made a revolution, whereas he wanted a continuation. It will be a revolution, because there will be many sales.
“I will come to a few games next season, why not? I am a Roma fan. I might go into the Curva Sud with Daniele De Rossi to watch the game, unless of course he’s playing somewhere else. We might need wigs, or we won’t see much of the game!
“I wasn’t ever going to change Roma, but at least give a contribution. Many promises were made, very few of them real. As a fan, that disappoints me, because as a fan, I have dreams of seeing Roma compete at the top.
“Even if we don’t win the Scudetto, we can compete and maybe win a trophy or two. Unfortunately, there are financial problems and they have to be respected.
“If we have to sell because this year we are running at a loss of €50-60m, we can’t sell youth players and get that amount of money. We have to sell important players. That’s how it works. This isn’t a surprise to anyone.”
“If I was the President of Roma and had two icons like Totti and De Rossi, I’d put them in charge of everything. They have ethics, they know everything about what it means to be Roman and Romanista.
“Pallotta surrounded himself with the wrong people and he only listens to them. Everyone makes mistakes, but if you make the same mistakes for eight years, you have to ask yourself some questions. Something clearly is going wrong.”
A reporter then specifically asked him if someone had stabbed him in the back at Trigoria.
“Yes. I will never name names, but there are people in there who don’t want me there. These people are hurting Roma, not doing what is best for the club.
“Pallotta is not there, he doesn’t know what’s going on, but I do. I know it like the pockets in my jeans. I know everyone from the usher and cleaners to the chiefs. I grew up in there. I know what the problems are, the resources, who is talking badly behind people’s backs.
“If someone talks behind another person’s back to you, then imagine what he says when you’re not there. I think Pallotta in Boston only gets a 10th of the real truth reported back to him.
“When I take part in charity events, they know what I’m doing and told me it was important to bring Roma’s name around the world. It’s not as if I go off by myself to do those.
“Many directors go on holiday for a week, the problem is that nobody recognises them and therefore don’t care. I read everything you said about me, don’t worry.
“I trust Daniele De Rossi 100 per cent. I know it was not him who said certain things. I’m holding back a little, because if someone replies, I’ll hit back…”
Finally, the 42-year-old revealed the sheer extent of the distance between him and the board.
“Over the last few weeks, they tried in every way to keep me there, but via third parties. In two years, I never heard directly from Pallotta or Baldini. They have never called or sent a message directly.
“What would you think in that situation? Would you feel loved and wanted there? No. If I make mistakes, that’s fine, tell me to my face. None of it every happened.
“For 20 years people have said Roma would get back to winning, but it’s been 18 years since the Scudetto. I want people to keep their promises.
“I don’t need absolute power. Just a little bit to make some decisions. The problem is, when I say something, it’s never listened to. I don’t need to stand in front of everyone. Others do.
“As far as I am concerned, I was cumbersome for this club. People told me both as a player and a director that I am a burden. It hurt more this time than to leave as a player, because it’s like leaving your mother.”
Does he think Pallotta is just at Roma for the new stadium project?
“You’d have to ask him. I can’t answer that. Only he can know that. If I were to answer, it’d probably be incorrect, so it would be unfair to try.
“I thank him for giving me the chance to stay at Roma, to work and learn a different role. I got to know things as a director that otherwise I never would’ve known.
“I thank him so much for that.“Let it be clear, I want Pallotta to succeed and I hope he can take Roma back to where they belong, at the top. I hope he can get the right advice and achieve greatness.
“I spoke to Pallotta face-to-face only once, when I retired as a player. I went to London with my wife and Baldini was there. That is literally the only time we spoke face-to-face about anything.
“I never thought after 30 years of Roma that I’d be here saying goodbye to Roma. I never imagined it.
“Pallotta needs to understand Roma and the real problems within Trigoria. I hoped to discuss many things with him, but I never got the opportunity.
“I don’t want anyone thinking I am against Pallotta or want him to fail, because Roma is Roma and the rest is irrelevant. I just hope that from today, he changes tack.”