Sunday June 28 2020
Chiellini: 'Totti deserved Ballon d'Or'

Juventus captain Giorgio Chiellini is bemused by the fact Andriy Shevchenko and Michael Owen won the Ballon d’Or, but not Francesco Totti. ‘He was simply a genius.’

The Bianconeri defender’s autobiography covered numerous subjects throughout his career and the latest excerpt to hit the newspapers is about the biggest individual award in football.

“I have played with Francesco Totti, but we were almost always opponents,” wrote Chiellini.

“I saw him in a few Azzurri games before the 2006 World Cup, but then he left the Nazionale. Francesco was truly immense and it’s a shame we didn’t get to see him play on other grand stages, but it’s romantic that he dedicated his entire life to Roma.

“He won a lot less than he could’ve done, he should’ve been a Ballon d’Or, and perhaps denied himself that element of growth that comes from change. However, anyone who thinks this was a decision borne of comfort knows nothing. It was purely a choice of love.

“Totti really could’ve won the Ballon d’Or, before the hegemony of the ‘aliens’ Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. They gave the trophy to players like Owen and Shevchenko, who are great, but certainly not better than Totti,” wrote Chiellini.

“He had eyes in the back of his head, could make the ball move in a way that nobody could’ve imagined. I saw him play fantastic football, first with this explosive physicality, then with immense class, albeit at a slower tempo.

“In terms of technique, mentality and vision, Totti was genuinely world class: simply a genius. Alongside the unruly creativity of Antonio Cassano, he formed one of the best Roma partnerships of all time, perhaps the best. Pure poetry.”

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