Friday September 20 2013
'Totti's future never in doubt'

Roma President James Pallotta has heaped praise on Francesco Totti as the forward penned a new deal at the club.

The veteran striker extended his contract at the Giallorossi until 2016 this afternoon, and the club’s chief has admitted that there was never any doubt about the 36-year-old signing for another team.

"There's not much I can add to what's already been said about Francesco over the years,” he told a Press conference. “I'm honored that Francesco is staying here and I'd like to toast to Roma and Francesco together forever.

"There was never any question of Francesco going anywhere else. The length of time the contract took was down to the fact that we had lots of other things going on. We weren't just working on Totti's contract but the whole team.

“We spent a couple of months in the transfer market and brought in a new Coach as well. There wasn't anything that was stretched out. We understood that Francesco was the leader from day one. He was always going to be here forever.”

Pallotta then commented on Roma’s 100 per cent start to the season, as well as congratulating Coach Rudi Garcia on the job he has done so far.

"I've only been lucky enough to be President since last July and I said we had a five-year plan and beyond, but I also said I would be very disappointed if we were not competing at the top level before that.

“If you take the last year or so, and certainly since the end of last May, there's been substantial positive changes.

“When I first met Rudi, the first question I asked him was 'How do you relate to your team?' And he said, 'I love my team first and foremost and my players'.

"When the team came over to the States on tour, you could see a vastly different change in demeanor.

“Right off the bat, all of the players were hanging together, day and night. If you take the first game of the season, when Daniele [De Rossi] scored, you would have thought that we'd won the Champions League. Every single player on the team mobbed him.

"Then in the last game against Parma, in the 85th minute when the game was in hand and one of our players went down with what was maybe a bit of a cheap shot, the rest of the team came over and basically said to Parma that if you screw with one of our players you screw with all of us.

“That's just one more sign of what's being created here, which is a team."

The American businessman concluded by remarking on the investment he has sought for the capital club, and the state of Italian football.

"I'm certainly happy with what we've accomplished in the last three or four months. It's a process and we're in the middle of that process but I think it's been a very good start, pretty much across the board.

“In terms of other investors in Serie A, I think it's similar to what's going on in the Premier League and France. I think that will continue and hopefully the experience we're having will be a substantial positive for Rome and - with Inter and if there are others - it will be a benefit for Serie A and football generally.

“I don't see it as being a negative, at least so far, although others may differ in their opinion."