Some of AS Roma’s players were not even born when Francesco Totti made his debut for the club and the 36-year-old shows no signs of stopping after reaching another milestone in his remarkable career.
One of the few one-club players in the modern game, Totti has found a second wind this season as he partners players such as Nicolas Lopez and Alessio Romagnoli, who were both born after he made his Roma debut in March 1993.
There has even been talk of an Italy recall for Totti, who has not played for his country since winning the 2006 World Cup.
Tributes flowed for Totti after he converted a penalty against Genoa on Sunday to score his 225th Serie A goal to equal Gunnar Nordahl’s total and become joint highest all-time scorer in the league’s history.
“Totti is simply a champion and, like all champions, he has unimaginable resources,” Italian coach Fabio Capello said this week.
“He may have lost a bit of pace, but he has made up for that with astuteness and intelligence,” said the former AC Milan, AS Roma, Real Madrid and England coach, now with Russia.
“He can’t play forever, but he can still play on for a couple more years. He can’t play in all the games, he has to understand that he can only continue at this standard if he plays in a limited number of matches,” Capello said.
Roma, who visit Udinese tomorrow, have won their last three matches, with Totti scoring in the last two, to climb back up the table under interim coach Aurelio Andreazzoli, who was brought in after the sacking of Zeman Zdenek.
That has put them back up to seventh spot with 43 points, five behind third-placed AC Milan who are in the Champions League playoff spot.
Milan, who have hit a purple patch after a difficult start to the season, visit Genoa today and may struggle to hold on to third place with Inter and SS Lazio, who are both one point behind them, enjoying home matches on Sunday.