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Roma legend Totti returns to club for 'new adventure' as director

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Roma legend Totti returns to club for 'new adventure' as director
Greeting fans before his final match. Photo: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP
08:44 CEST+02:00
A whole new challenge awaits former AS Roma legend Francesco Totti as the Serie A club return to the Champions League group stage on Tuesday against Atletico Madrid.

The 40-year-old former player will swap his Roma shirt for a suit as he assumes the mantle of a director of the Serie A club.

As a player Totti helped Roma to a Scudetto, won a World Cup with Italy and won a European Golden Shoe.

Totti played 786 matches for his hometown club after joining as a schoolboy in 1989, scoring a club-record 307 goals, and won the 2006 World Cup with Italy.

He retired from international football after Germany 2006 to devote all his energies to his beloved club.

After retiring as a club player in May he stepped into a role as technical director.

"The first part (of my life) - being a footballer - is over and now another, equally important one as a director begins, and I hope that I will be able to do what I did on the field," Totti told Roma's website at the time.

"Football is my passion; it's everything. It's friendship, scoring goals, knowing new people. It's something which touched every important part of my body."

As Totti prepares for his new career he concedes it is still difficult for him to accept his playing days are now behind him. The former attacking midfielder played his final game after 24 years amid emotional scenes with the capital-city side in a 3-2 win against Genoa in May.

"The football field has given me a lot and I tried to give a lot to these people, who showed me so much love day after day.

"I start over again, on a new adventure."

Totti confirms he's retiring for directorship role at Roma
Celebrating a goal. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

"I expect a rosy, beautiful future. I'll pick a perfect role so that I am able to make this a great team and a great club."

Totti won a Serie A title with Roma in 2001 and has Italian Cup and Super Cup titles but never tasted success on the European stage as a player.

The closest the club came to winning the elite European title was losing the final on penalties to Liverpool in 1984 in the Stadio Olympico.

'Tactics, passion'

Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco welcomed the news that Totti would also be starting to work towards a coaching diploma in September.

"He's already been in the changing rooms to move the pieces on the tactics board about," said Di Francesco. "It's good that he's doing the course, because it will help him to figure out what he really wants to do.

"That's coming from someone who started out on the director side of things and then decided to be a coach in the middle of the transfer window.

Footballing greats pay tribute to Roma legend Totti
Teammates toss Totti in the air after his last match. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

"Whatever he does, he needs to do it with passion and never start feeling like he's made it."

This diploma - a compulsory first step in the path to a coaching career - would allow him to coach amateur and youth teams.

"On the one hand I would like to be a coach but for the moment I'm not thinking too much about it," said Totti.

"With my character I don't know if I would know how to manage a group."

He will soon find out as he will be on the sidelines at the Stadio Olimpico for the clash against last year's semi-finalists Atletico Madrid in their Group C opener.

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