Friday November 22 2019
Totti: 'Lippi like no other'

Francesco Totti reveals how he had "a rapport with Marcello Lippi that I never had with any other coach" but warns Nicolo Zaniolo must be left alone.

The pair only worked together for two years in the Italy set-up, but the Roma icon admits the former Juventus boss left a lasting impact on him.

Totti suffered a broken leg before the 2006 World Cup but was nonetheless part of Lippi's squad that won the tournament.

"My memories of him are all positive, as well as meeting a great coach I met a spectacular man, a father," he told Radio Radio.

"After the injury, he said some things to me to get my head right, and something clicked into gear.

"The words he said to me at Coverciano... there was a rapport there with him that I never had with any other coach. It went beyond football.

Both men had different club allegiances, so how did they put them aside for the Azzurri?

"Simple, we were in the national team and we only thought about that. Club sides were not thought of.

"The solidarity was our strength, and the only goal was to bring Italy as far as possible.

"The desire we showed brought us to the top of the world. In the end we were a single club; an Italian one."

Zaniolo has been mentioned as a potential successor to Totti in the Eternal City, so should he inherit the No 10 jersey?

"I, for the sake of Zaniolo, would stop the comparisons. If he continues like this, and I hope he does, he will deserve all that football will give him.

"We have to let him grow. He understands the Roman mentality and I hope he stays in Rome for a long time."