Claudio Ranieri claims he has no regrets after bringing on Francesco Totti last week as a last minute sub in the defeat by Sampdoria. The Roma Coach insists he would do it again, as it showed him respect. Subsequently, reports coming out of Roma suggest Totti's relationship with the club is at an all time low.
Certainly it is not the first time Totti has embarrassed himself and although no player is bigger than the club, it seems ‘Er Pupone' thinks he is, behaving like a spoilt child rather than the sensational footballer he is or perhaps was.
From spitting in Christian Poulsen's face on international duty to his savage tackle from behind on Mario Balotelli, factor in a myriad of misadventures in between and his arrogance has never been far from the surface.
Sadly his form and fitness have steadily declined and he is no longer the hero who led the Giallorossi to several cups, the title and no less than six runners-up spots. Of course it's not going to be easy for Totti, who has been crucial to the club's recent success, but it seems he won't or can't understand his importance is not what it once was.
After always getting his own way in the past, it seems he doesn't how to lose with grace. No-one has ever said ‘no' to him before and his arrogance and ego will not accept it. Totti was fabulous in his prime but he is currently not consistent enough to warrant a regular first team place.
Certainly with Jeremy Menez's stunning performances and Marco Borriello's goals, Totti's first team chances have been hard to come by. Yet Ranieri has started him 15 times, but also subbed him six times, so it's not as if he hasn't been given a chance. If he really loves Roma the way he professes, he should accept the bench role. The bottom line is that the combination of Borriello, Vucinic and Menez is more potent at the moment.
I don't know if many of you have seen the outtakes of Totti's advert for a telephone company, but it seems he just can't get his head round a 15 second piece of acting. And apart from his on field activities showing his arrogance, with everyone kowtowing and putting up with his stupidity on set, it seems the same is happening off the field, as no-one dare pull him up.
A former Lazio hero and Totti nemesis, who of course has an anti-Roma agenda, seemed to speak for many about Totti's attitude when he was taken off during the game with Inter last September. “What Totti did after his substitution was incredible,” blasted Paolo Di Canio. “It was an absolute disgrace. Everyone is angry at being substituted, but to leave the field in such a manner is an act of disrespect towards your teammates who are still on the pitch. A captain should always stay close and motivate the team.”
The Lazio legend went on to claim he thought that Mirko Vucinic's actions during his celebrations after his winning goal in the dying minutes were aimed at Totti, telling him to show more loyalty to his teammates. In conclusion, although it is natural for superstars to feel they are integral to their team's fortunes, the captain is not going the right way about it and should take a leaf from Alessandro Del Piero. The Juventus veteran understands his bench role and has never come out in public to lambast his Coach's tactics.