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Footballing greats pay tribute to Roma legend Totti

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Footballing greats pay tribute to Roma legend Totti
Francesco Totti is tossed in the air by teammates after his last match. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP
09:41 CEST+02:00
Pele, Diego Maradona, Alex Ferguson and a host of famous football personalities have paid tribute to Roma legend Francesco Totti throughout his storied career.

Below is a selection of their thoughts on the 40-year-old Italian icon, who retired after completing his 25th and final season with the Serie A club on Sunday.

Alex Ferguson, formerly Manchester United manager: "Totti is the symbol of Roma, just like Ryan Giggs was at Manchester United."

Argentina legend Diego Maradona: "At his best, Totti was the world's number one."

Totti on Maradona's appraisal of Totti: "After Maradona said I was the best player he'd seen in his life, I can retire now too."

Retired Liverpool great Steven Gerrard on Totti: "I think he would agree that I play football for the people, and to make the people happy. The most important thing for me is to win and have success and share it with my people, the people of my city. That's what makes me want to play football and win, and
I'm sure Francesco, over the years, his buzz and his happiness comes from making the Roma people happy. And that's where we're similar."

Torino coach Sinisa Mihajlovic, a former rival at Lazio, on Totti: "If you ask me, Totti has been the best player in Italian football for the past 20 years. And I'm sure he'll be just as influential on the other side of the pitch."

Teammate Daniele De Rossi on Totti: "He can't complain because he's played for so long, we can't complain about the feats he's let us enjoy watching, and we have enjoyed them. With his skills, which I envy, he'll still be playing exactly the same way when he's 50 and having a kickabout with friends."

Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri on Totti: "We owe him a big thanks for what he's achieved, because it's top level footballers who make the game beautiful. After 20 unforgettable years, it's a special moment for him and the fans, but he will remain a part of Roma's history. I wish him well for the future."

Juventus legend and former Italy teammate Alessandro Del Piero on Totti (via Il Metssaggero): "Eras in football never end: what's been achieved remains forever. Especially if history has been made. We're very different from each other but we took similar paths: that's why we're so close and why we've had
such a special relaionship for so long. I have huge respect for him and I know the feeling is mutual."

Roma coach Luciano Spalletti on Totti: "In the past few seasons he hasn't had many playing opportunities, so it's good to see his enthusiasm hasn't waned. When I arrived at the club, that's what was asked of me, because Roma is a top club with a quality side. I had to take a lot of things into account, but primarily Roma."

Former Real Madrid striker Raul: "I would have been honoured to play alongside Totti."

Pele: "Totti was the best player in the world in his prime."

Juventus goalkeeper and fellow Serie A veteran Gianluigi Buffon: "Totti has written the story of Italian football. I'm one of his favourite victims. I've played so many games against him - and he's always played in strong teams, as I have - so it was inevitable he has scored goals against me. I can't say I was happy he scored against me, but if I'd saved some of the goals he scored, I would have ruined a masterpiece."

Retired Inter Milan legend Javier Zanetti: "He's one of a kind. When it comes to players like him, club legends, you can see how great they are by the amount of passion and talent they show on the pitch. He's one of those players who can produce a moment of magic at any time. It was a huge honour for me to play against him on so many occasions, in big games with silverware on the line."
 

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