Thursday June 27 2019
Totti's toxic Roma divorce

After 30 years of commitment, Francesco Totti walked out on the Giallorossi amid bitter recrimination. Vijay Rahaman reflects on their ugly separation.

Most divorces are bitter and normally involve laying the blame at the feet of the other party, so Francesco Totti terminating his lifelong love affair with Roma was no different. In celebrity splits, there is usually one side that is seen as the ‘bad guy’ in the breakdown of their relationship and in this case there are absolutely no doubts who the love rat is. President James Pallotta and consultant Franco Baldini are the villains of the piece. That would make Totti the Jennifer Aniston, fitting as they did have similar haircuts in the 1990s.

Totti held a Press conference not at the club headquarters or even the Stadio Olimpico, but on the neutral territory of the Italian Olympic Committee hall. He walked in dressed to impress, as many tend to do when they are in the process of leaving a relationship, showing what you’re missing.

During his playing days, Totti was not always the most expressive of leaders, but he let loose on the current owners and upper management, as if he had been holding in his true feelings all these years. He felt betrayed and warned Roma fans, his little brother Daniele De Rossi and even the next generation in Alessandro Florenzi and Lorenzo Pellegrini that they would get the same treatment.

It felt like the fans represented the children in a divorce, Totti reassuring them he’d always be there, he simply couldn’t continue living under the same roof right now. Those kids have been talking back to Daddy Pallotta for a year, so one can only imagine how they’ll act out after this.

It was an ode to the love for Roma above all else, the red and yellow colours that bond people together from childhood to old age. Totti pledged that he would return to Trigoria once the current occupants had moved on, as they inevitably will, because commitment is something the American investors simply cannot understand.

Perhaps this is why he believes they are trying to purge Romanisti from Roma. If the fans see themselves in the players, in that endless passionate marriage to the cause, nobody else stands a chance. No Coach, director or President can ever hope to hold as much sway as these icons. Luciano Spalletti knew it, Baldini and Pallotta are just continuing the process with De Rossi. Who will be next?

It shouldn’t be a surprise, because the problems between Totti and Baldini go back to 2011. In his book ‘Un Capitano’, Er Pupone outlined conversations over the years in which Baldini confessed that he tried to sell the club icon many times, but the Coaches always demanded guarantees over his presence. That run eventually came to an end in 2017, when Totti was not offered a new contract and effectively forced to retire. “I want you to know it was me who made you stop,” Baldini told him.

In a way, you could see the entire situation as Roma gaslighting Totti and the fans. The statement released after his list of accusations certainly suggested that. “While we understand how hard it must be for him to take this decision to leave AS Roma after 30 years, we believe that his perception of the facts and decisions made at the club are both fanciful and far from reality.” Honey, you’re imagining things. Why must you be so jealous and irrational?

Totti was given a role within the club that was only an apparent position of power, leaving him to be mere decoration that kept fans and sponsors happy. He had brokered a deal for Antonio Conte to become the Coach, but was left out of the meetings that picked Shakhtar Donetsk boss Paulo Fonseca.

Pre-season hasn’t even started yet and already the chaos is evident. Steven Nzonzi didn’t turn up for his medical, they are being sued by the Mayor of Pinzolo for cancelling a pre-season training camp just days before it was set to begin and pulled out of the International Champions Cup, where they had been due to face Chivas in Illinois, Arsenal in North Carolina and Benfica in New Jersey. Sport betting online reflects how poorly Roma’s new season preparations have gone, and a new Coach who has no Serie A experience trying to implement his tactics needs every moment of pre-season training he can get, so these decisions are frankly alarming.

As for Totti, he is for the first time in his life looking outside the Roma box. He is footloose and fancy free, having made it clear to everyone that he tried everything possible to make this marriage work, but was rebuffed at every turn. We could well see him join the growing ex-Roma colony at Sampdoria, with Eusebio Di Francesco on the bench and passionate Giallorossi-supporting President Massimo Ferrero. Antonio Cassano still lives near Genoa, so imagine the get-togethers they could have by the beach.

Whatever step Totti takes next, it’ll only be a fling, because we all know he’ll return to his one true love eventually.

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Have your say...
Roma are confused and Palotta has messed up the club. They should have been in a stronger position than inter and Napoli6had they handled their transfers well after getting to the semis. However, they sold Naingollan and Strootman, the heart of their midfield and that was crazy. They have been going downhill with no plan since. The fans need to boycott the stadium and Roma products to force a sale by Palotta.
on the 30th June, 2019 at 6:34pm
Pallotta knows there's relegation, right?
on the 29th June, 2019 at 10:23am
I'm a Lazio fan, and usually in these type of articles I just look for something to dismiss A.S.Roma (nothing strange, as every Lazio and A.S.Roma fan always do).

But honestly, these article was so badly-written that I don't even care about what happened between A.S.Roma and their ex-capitano there. The guy who wrote this is probably one of those twitter self-proclaimed journalists who think because they follow and like football, means that they are credible enough to write football articles!
on the 28th June, 2019 at 4:07am

ROSELLA Sensi DID try to build stadium.
(It was in 2009, I think.)
They even bought a land for it and made a maquette/ design.

But it's hard to build anything "NEW" in "ANCIENT" Rome, just as Pallotta is now finding out...
on the 27th June, 2019 at 8:19pm
Sensi didn't plan to build stadium coz too many bureaucraziness in Italy, but he built a winning team, not turn Roma into a supermarket.
on the 27th June, 2019 at 5:57pm
You say he didn’t have a legitimate position in management but Roma offered him an advanced role of technical director before he left. You sympathize with totti because his preferred coach, conte, did not take the job? Roma tried to get conte but he decided he wanted to go to inter instead...not to mention that getting Ranieri in there was totti’s idea so give me a break about him not having any input. Totti shot his own team in the foot by turning the fans against management even more.
on the 27th June, 2019 at 5:53pm
If Pallotta can deliver and fund the new stadium in can accept a lot from him.

Keep in mind that results in the Sensi era wasent much better and they did not even try to build a new stadium, and was never really a contender (Exept under de Capello years)

And maby only maby, Roma needs something different then what Roma has done the last 30 yers with Totti at the club.

It could be a new beginning, but it will nerver haven unsell we get the new stadium
on the 27th June, 2019 at 3:44pm
I'm sure Totti was a royal pain in the ass, but I wouldn't doubt him for a minute when it comes to having Roma's best interest in mind. Perhaps he can work with the NT for a while? What is happening in Roma is really sad.
on the 27th June, 2019 at 2:52pm
Thomas Jorgensen...The problem has always been that Pallotta is at home and never in Italy. He obviously prefers to be at home and stay there. Plus he is from Boston so calling him a Yankee is a bit strange.
on the 27th June, 2019 at 1:38pm
Yankee go home and stay there....
on the 27th June, 2019 at 11:18am
"That would make Totti the Jennifer Aniston, fitting as they did have similar haircuts in the 1990s."

>>> Yep, time to close this utterly ridiculous and pathetic article.

Football-Italia needs to really proofread the nonsensical bile these "guest" authors try to pass on as "editorials" and find a better brand of knowledgeable scribes...
on the 27th June, 2019 at 9:55am
This is what happens when you let someone without any passion for the club or knowledge of football run the club. Chaos.
on the 27th June, 2019 at 8:35am

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