Wednesday April 9 2014
World Cup Squad Selector: Totti

Francesco Totti last represented Italy in 2006, but as he continues to shine for Roma, Luca Cetta assesses calls for his return.

Francesco Totti retired from the international game in the best possible manner. His last act wearing the Azzurri shirt was to hoist the World Cup trophy above his shoulders. It took a year, but he finally announced his retirement from the international scene to focus on Roma. Now there are calls to see Totti back in the blue.

A recent report suggested the only over-35 players going to Brazil will be Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo, but Totti is a viable option for Cesare Prandelli. He remains a vital cog for Roma, not somebody riding on the coattails of glories past. Rather, Totti continues to write his story.

Roma boss Rudi Garcia admits while he may not have the fitness of a decade ago, the 37-year-old version offers more experience and is a ‘genius’.

Er Pupone has aged like a fine wine. The vision, touch and intelligence have not deserted. And his scoring record has only bettered during his time away from the Nazionale. Since Berlin, Totti has netted 109 of his 234 Serie A goals for the Giallorossi. That is in just under eight seasons. If Prandelli needs a goal, Totti can provide.

If the Coach is looking for an elder statesman to act as a guide then there are few better options than the Lupi icon – especially in a tournament situation. He’s been there before. Garcia notes that Totti is not the most vocal captain off the pitch, but what he does on it makes him an example to follow.

His inclusion would give Prandelli attacking options. The tactician has a number of choices to make, in personnel and system. The CT hasn’t settled on one principal formation, but in all his incarnations there would be a place for Totti. He can fill his traditional trequartista role, but also out wide – where Zdenek Zeman used him last term – as a supporting striker or leading the attack.

With the ball at his feet Totti is what Garcia says. He has the ability to bring others into the game with one deft pass. Only teammate Gervinho has created more goals in Serie A, with 10 assists compared to Totti’s nine.

Conversely, the question remains - can the 37-year-old’s legs still go at the highest level in what will be hot and humid conditions? Totti does not play frequently in such short bursts for Roma. He last played 90 minutes in January and for more than 75 minutes in just half his 20 appearances this term and that puts a limitation on Prandelli’s starting options. Totti has scored only once this season from the bench – a penalty – suggesting greater effectiveness when starting.

Nor has he played in any sort of continental competition since the 2011-12 Europa League qualifiers, or a competition proper since the 2010-11 Champions League. It’s a different animal to Serie A.

Those aspects could count against him, but when it comes down to it, this is Francesco Totti. He remains decisive for Roma and can bring that touch of attacking genius to Brazil.

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Have your say...
Italy needs Totti in the squad for both direct football, and non-football reasons. Great player, leader, motivator! I am actually watching Romavs Juventus right now, and the stuff Totti is doing here is incredibly good. Leave behind, and ruin Italy's beautiful football.

See you in Brazil Totti!
on the 11th May, 2014 at 8:01pm
The younger guys (Immobile out of depth against Spain), Cerci unreliable final ball, or Diamanti (inconsistent), are the viable options ahead of Totti. What Totti guarantees is to be Totti (no longer petulant/ and comfortable anywhere on a pitch ready to deliver). Italy has only Mario who is still developing. A fit Totti is a great option. Look at his sub appearance against Australia in the heat (with 10 men) he changed/won us the game. It's naive to think he has no worth!!! Forza Italia! ****
on the 12th April, 2014 at 6:11pm
"Cesare, dont make the same mistake that Trap made with Baggio in 2002. Totti must be included in the final 23."

on the 11th April, 2014 at 10:03pm
Well Prandelli did not preselect Totti for the physicals. Honestly, is there any other country that treat their superstars this way. If Zidane or Maradona or Ronaldhino said they wanted to play for their country and had a great year would they be ignored?
on the 11th April, 2014 at 9:42pm
Totti is not the kind of player that would be starting games in Brazil. for that we have Balotelli, Insigne, maybe Cassano and hopefully Rossi.if we wind up facing Spain, what will give us a chance at victory will be creativity - possibly the one thing the Spanish lack and against which they have trouble defending. there is no other man in football who has the creativity and vision that Totti has. if Prandelli were to select a player like Gilardino over Totti, he would be making a great error.
on the 11th April, 2014 at 5:04am
Absolutely not. He only cares for Roma. He won the WC but wasn't good due to his serious injury plus he is too old.
on the 10th April, 2014 at 12:00pm
My head says "No" but my heart says "Yes"... He would an amazing 'Super-Sub' and like others have said, if Italy were losing 1-0 and they needed something different, he could well be the man to come off the bench and provide that spark.
My feeling is if he continues to prove himself with Roma right up until the end of the season and is fit, then Prandelli should seriously consider taking him.
on the 10th April, 2014 at 9:42am
Great player but no. Italy need all their players to be capable of playing at least 90 minutes in the heat and humidity of Brazil. So for me no casino, toni, totti or dare I say no pirlo who can be marked out of the game completely as was seen against napoli by hamsik!
on the 10th April, 2014 at 9:06am
Francesco Totti is a genuine game changer. Balotelli can be petulant and his performance depends on his mood. Rossi is a question mark at the moment and the rest are simply not proven enough. Totti has the genuine WC experience that the rest of the forward line lacks at the moment. On any day, Totti would be a better option than Gilardino or Osvaldo. The real question is his fitness but if he is asked to make little more than sub appearances, he should be a great option to have in the squad.
on the 10th April, 2014 at 8:44am
Cesare, dont make the same mistake that Trap made with Baggio in 2002. Totti must be included in the final 23.

Insteresting stat is that Roma average almost 3 goals per game when Totti is on the field and 1.8 when he is not.
on the 10th April, 2014 at 3:24am
Totti is a definite yes. Cassano - possibly (can never have too many experienced players that are on form and a fantasia). Luca Toni nope. Gilardino nope.
on the 10th April, 2014 at 2:15am
Totti must go! Yes his age is a factor that might hinder his performance in Brazil but the guy as Garcia says is a genius. He can change a game with a touch, a long range effort, a telling throughball or a sweetly taken free kick. These are aspects you need in a tournament. Give Er Pupone Brazil!
on the 10th April, 2014 at 1:21am
Totti should and i repeat should be selected!!! His attributes as a player are still magnificent and unmatched! What Totti will bring on the pitch no other Italian attacker possesses! If Prandelli wants a real chance to win this world cup, then he should take Totti aboard. Please select him
on the 10th April, 2014 at 1:17am
Get Totti, Del Piero and Toni. They still play, they still score.
on the 9th April, 2014 at 10:44pm
I think Totti could go. My starting lineup would be.

GK: Buffon

RB: Chiellini - RCB: Bonucci - LCB: Barzagli - LB: Criscito

RCM: Totti (Candreva could start here and save Totti as a sub on as his fitness isn't the same) - CM: Pirlo - LCM: De Rossi

RF: Cerci - LF: Cassano - ST: Rossi

Subs: Keepers: Sirigu, Perin

Subs: Defense: Paletta, Maggio, Abate, De Sciglio

Subs: Midfield: Marchisio, Candreva (Could start as well), Motta, Montolivo

Subs: Forwards: Destro, Immobile
on the 9th April, 2014 at 9:53pm
In th past few seasons I expected Totti to slow down immensely. However much his pace has slacked, he was never a speedy option. His skill lies in his vision and decisiveness. And, for those naysayers stating that he only "walks around"...mind you this you guy is still beating defenders to balls, still running full tilt and doesn't over complicate his dribbling, like Cerce or Immobile do on occasion. Totti under Zeman looked 27 and his athletic form hasn't dipped. Yet no Brazil. Win a Scudetto!
on the 9th April, 2014 at 9:46pm
My 23 would look like this...

3 Keepers

Buffon, Sirigu, Scuffet

6 Defenders (adding De Rossi making it a possible 7)...

Abate, De Sciglio, Barzagli, Paletta, Bonucci, Chiellini

8 Midfielders

De Rossi (who could be used in defence too), Pirlo, T. Motta, Marchisio, Montolivo, Verratti, Candreva, Totti (if deemed too old then Insigne)

6 Forwards

Cerci, Cassano, Balotelli, Immobile, Destro, Rossi (If unfit, I would take another full back like Criscito or Balzaretti)
on the 9th April, 2014 at 9:26pm
Totti is probably in better shape now than in 2006. he couldn't play in all games then and he wouldn'n now. however, when for example, he came in to the game replacing a very tired Del Piero vs australia in 2006 when italy had only 10 men, he made the diffrence. Italy changed... came back to life and threatened with only 10 men. Totti should go to the world cup.
on the 9th April, 2014 at 6:34pm
Totti is a legend but I do not think he should go. At the same time I will trust Prandelli to decide as he should be evaluating players more in depth than I. I think Gervinho is the real wheel in the Roma team on a consistent basis (gives Destro tap ins like woah). Roma wins without Totti. So no Totti or Cassano for me but like I said ill leave it up the coach without arguing his decisions because we do not know what they are yet.
on the 9th April, 2014 at 6:15pm
Totti is a legend but I personally do not think he should go, nor would I take Cassano. If you ask me Gervinho is the one who consistency performs for Roma and is the one who sets up Destro for tap ins even if hes offsides. We see Roma is still winning without Totti but hey I actually trust whatever Prandelli thinks so I'll leave it at that instead of hating Prandellis decisions before hes made them.
on the 9th April, 2014 at 5:44pm
Should not go. Lovely player but doesn't have what it takes. Bringing a player to brazil because he has what it takes for 20 mins doesnt do it to me. Bring the younger guys.
on the 9th April, 2014 at 5:12pm
Totti is the best option to set up
on the 9th April, 2014 at 5:05pm
For me Totti may make the difference. He must go with Cassano to relieve the offensive burden off of Pirlo. His great year started with the North American tour where he left fans with mouths agape. When he has played his passing skills are not diminished. It is too bad Insigne is too young. Can Totti be the Zidane of 2006 leading his team to the final? he can alternate with Cassano.
on the 9th April, 2014 at 4:46pm
Pirlo is the only one that offers invention and creativity in our squad.

If we had this upfront with Totti I believe we will be a real threat in the World Cup.

Totti has an understanding with Destro and has played with Cassano in the past. He would have no problems playing alongside Cerci, Rossi, Balotelli or Immobile if anything he would get the best out of them.

He's also a penalty and free kick specialist which is so important in tournament play.

He has my vote, but it won't happen
on the 9th April, 2014 at 4:13pm
Totti needs to go to this mundial. He is so important as a creative option further up the field to relieve pressure off of Pirlo. He does not need to start but needs to be an option. The best playmaker in Italy still and a great option off the bench
on the 9th April, 2014 at 3:57pm
Toti proves that whith a certain amount of qaulity age
dosent affect shit
on the 9th April, 2014 at 3:52pm
cesare, give francesco a plane ticket. no totti, no party. so let's go to brazil and party and lets see how far this team can go! italy to the semi-finals would be awesome. forza italia, forza francesco totti.
on the 9th April, 2014 at 3:27pm
He would be great coming off the bench last 20-30 min changing the game with 1 pass or just with 1 shot. Doesn't have to run de Ross and marchisio will provide the ball to him plus takes pressure off pirlo. Same with cassano totti better playmaker though.
on the 9th April, 2014 at 2:52pm
Yes for me. He may be 85 years old, but Totti on the field is an experienced head who plays with passion and understands football very well. I see him as 'on the field' manager for Roma and though that has been earned with time, you can also imagine the impact he has off the pitch by just being in the squad. I would have him in my squad for his leader qualities even if he isn't played full 90 each game.
on the 9th April, 2014 at 2:49pm
Great Blog. Italy need true world class players that are comfortable on the ball and Totti is one of the few they have. It's no coincidents that Gervinho and Destro are having career years, they are benefiting from having Totti creating for them. In 2006 Pirlo had a great world cup but that's only because teams had to worry about Totti which created much more space for him. Without Totti Italy doesn't have that type of player. Italy will never win with players like Balo, Gila, Osva..Bring Totti!
on the 9th April, 2014 at 2:07pm

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