Sunday, June 12, 2011

Francesco Totti

Francesco Totti, Cavaliere Ufficiale OMRI, (born 27 September 1976 in Rome) is an Italian footballer who is the captain of Serie A club Roma. His position is that of a striker or an attacking midfielder, though he is best known for playing as a second striker. Totti has spent his entire career at Roma, is the number-one goalscorer and the most capped player in the club's history. He is considered as one of the finest players in his generation and also Roma's greatest player ever.Often referred to as Il Bimbo d'Oro (The Golden Boy), Er Pupone (The Baby) and Il Gladiatore (The Gladiator) by the Italian sports media, Totti has won many individual awards, including a record five Italian Footballer of the Year awards and two Serie A Footballer of the Year awards. He was named in the FIFA 100, a list of the 125 greatest living footballers selected by Pelé as a part of FIFA's centenary celebrations. He is currently the top active Serie A goalscorer and fifth all-time in league history with 207
After three years on the youth team, Totti made his first appearance for Roma's senior side at the age of sixteen, when coach Vujadin Boškov let him play in the 2–0 away victory against Brescia on 28 March 1993. In the following seasons, he began to play more games and scored his first goal on 24 September 1994 in a 1–1 draw against Foggia. By 1995, Totti had become a regular in the starting eleven and scored 16 goals in the next three seasons. When he assumed the team captaincy in 1997, he began to gain recognition as a club symbol. Manager Zdeněk Zeman played with an offensive 4–3–3 formation, in which Totti was the left winger. Totti scored 30 goals during Zeman's two-year managerial stint.Though Totti was not called up for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, he was named the Serie A Young Footballer of the Year in the 1998–99 season.
By the 2000–01 campaign, Roma, then helmed by Fabio Capello, was building a competitive team around Totti, who had started to play as trequartista to take advantage of his passing skills. He scored thirteen goals in the campaign. On 17 June 2001, he won Scudetto, and scored one goal in a 3–0 Supercoppa Italiana victory against Fiorentina.
Totti was named the Italian Footballer of the Year for 2000 and 2001. He received his first Ballon d'Or nomination in 2000, finishing fourteenth in the voting and fifth the following year. He had also become a widely recognized idol of the supporters, who were able to identify with Totti's background as a lifelong Roma supporter and Rome native and also his prowess on the pitch.In the following seasons, Totti played as second striker as part of a 3–5–2 formation and scored a career-high twenty goals in the 2003–04 season as Roma finished runners-up to Milan in the Scudetto race. He also won his second consecutive Italian Footballer of the Year award. Despite a disappointing 2004–05 season that saw Capello leave for Juventus and Roma slip to eighth place while making four coaching changes during the course of the season, Totti maintained his consistent offensive output by scoring fifteen goals, among them his 100th Serie A goal against Internazionale on 3 October 2004. Two months later, on 19 December, he became Roma's all-time leading scorer after netting his 107th career goal against Parma, breaking the record previously held by Roberto Pruzzo.
Roma's new coach for the 2005–06 season, Luciano Spalletti, went with a 4–2–3–1 formation. In this formation, Totti would not remain forward waiting for crosses or passes but instead go back to take the ball, thus creating space for the attacking midfielders. In this new position, Totti began to score more frequently than the past and scored 15 goals in 24 matches. At one point during this streak, the team won 11 consecutive games.On 19 February 2006, Totti suffered a fracture of his left fibula and ligament damage during a match against Empoli after being fouled by Richard Vanigli. Totti risked missing the 2006 World Cup, but returned to the side on 11 May as a substitute in Roma's 3–1 Coppa Italia Final defeat to Internazionale. A metal plate had been attached to his ankle during surgery, but doctors decided not to operate again and remove it following Totti's return, after concurring that it would not affect his gameplay.
The 2006–07 season was a personal high for Totti, as he finished as Serie A's top scorer with 26 goals as Roma finished runners-up to Inter but exacted revenge on the Nerazzurri as they took home the 2007 Coppa Italia. Totti also was the recipient of the ESM European Golden Shoe award as the top European goalscorer. Despite being the highest active goalscorer in Serie A, he was not among the finalists for the 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year due to his national team absence, though he was nominated for the 2007 Ballon d'Or, finishing tenth in the voting.Totti scored his 200th goal with Roma in a 4–0 Coppa Italia win over Torino on 16 January 2008. He was named the Italian Footballer of the Year for the fifth time in his career on 28 January. He suffered a season-ending injury to his right knee during a 1–1 draw with Livorno on 19 April. Tests revealed a tear of his ACL that required surgery, making him miss four months.Roma won their ninth Coppa Italia with a 2–1 victory over Internazionale on 24 May. Though Totti did not play, he was still allowed to lift the cup as the team's captain. With this win, Totti became the most successful captain in team history. Overall, Totti has won five titles and ten runners-up medals.
Roma's difficult start to the 2008–09 season and continued struggles at the start of the 2009–10 season saw Spalletti resign after his four year reign and be replaced by Claudio Ranieri. Totti performed well in the inaugural UEFA Europa League. He has since scored three hat-tricks, first in a 7–1 away win against Gent in the third qualifying round and then another with the same score against Košice at the Olimpico in the play-off round. He also scored 3 goals against Bari in Serie A upon his return from a month-long injury.On 30 November 2009, Totti confirmed he had signed a new five-year playing contract which will see him with the club until 2014, after which he will become a club director for a further five years.The deal was made official by the Board of Directors on 16 December 2009. Roma offered a gross annual salary of €8.9M for 2009–10 and €8.6M in the next 4 seasons.With a 24-match unbeaten run in Serie A, Roma became the only challengers to Inter in the last three rounds for the league title, ultimately finishing runners-up after the final fixture. Despite Totti's several injury problems, he surpassed legends such as Gabriel Batistuta, Giuseppe Signori, and Kurt Hamrin in the all-time league scoring records. Totti also played in the Coppa Italia Final against Inter on 5 May 2010 but received a red card in the closing minutes of the second half for kicking Mario Balotelli. Roma lost 0–1, failing to bring home their 10th Coppa Italia.
Totti during the 2010–11 season.In the 2010–11 season, Roma continued their 'traditional' early struggles, partly blamed on Ranieri's failure to develop a consistent set of tactics, changing both formations and lineups after every week. Though on a personal level, Totti won the Golden Foot award, Ranieri's lack of faith in Totti meant that the captain would face more time on the substitute's bench in favour of Marco Borriello, Mirko Vučinić and Jérémy Menez. This limited playing time (including an 91st minute substitution against Sampdoria resulted in only three league goals in 21 appearances. Following Roma's loss against Genoa on 20 February 2011, Ranieri resigned as trainer of Roma and Totti saw his former teammate Vincenzo Montella appoint to caretaker coach.Montella reverted to Spalletti's 4–2–3–1 system and Totti appeared to find his best performance again. Within his first five league appearances under Montella, Totti, now reinstated into the starting lineup managed to score seven goals including braces against Lazio, Fiorentina and Udinese. On 3 March, Totti has been voted the best active Italian player in a poll conducted by La Gazzetta dello Sport with 100 Italian personalities, including footballers, politicians and showmen, took part in the vote.

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