A 44-year-old Englishman, Clement had been a longtime assistant for Carlo Ancelotti at Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain, and Real Madrid.
His only first chair experience came in the Championship with the Rams, where he was on pace for a playoff experience before being canned for Darren Wassall. Derby then lost to Hull City in a playoff semifinal.
During the prematch ceremony to celebrate the retirement of Roma legend Francesco Totti, there were fans crying. There were mascots crying. There were family members crying. There were players crying. The man himself was crying.
When 25 years with one club, no celebration can keep back the tears that naturally follow such a glorious career. Instead, an entire stadium paid tribute in one massive outpouring of emotion.
He was never flashy, he was never self-concerned, he never attracted the spotlight. All Francesco Totti did was give and give and give to his club. As the Italian’s career progressed, the game changed around him, with more and more money flowing through a landscape that gave players every reason to change teams as often as possible.
Through it all, Totti stayed put.
At the end of it all, 25 years produced 618 league appearances, and 782 appearances overall. He scored 250 Serie A goals on the nose, and another 66 amid all other competitions. Those are just numbers, and Totti gave Roma far more than a laundry list of big numbers.
But for now, we focus on the bookkeeping, because even those are staggering. 250 league goals leaves Totti 2nd all-time in Italy, behind just Silvio Piola, but even the great 1938 World Cup champion never scored more than 143 league goals for a single club. Only three active players have over 100 league goals.
Totti racked up 618 Serie A appearances, his final one a 3-2 win over Genoa that earned Roma a Champions League group stage spot. That total is good for third all-time, one (for now) behind the great Gianluigi Buffon and 29 back of all-time leader Paolo Maldini. Maldini, who retired in 2009, also spent his entire career with one club in AC Milan, an equally commendable accomplishment. But in the modern game, 8 years adrift of Maldini’s playing days, the overwhelming temptations to move clubs make what Totti has done even more remarkable. Plus, he out-lasted Maldini’s career by a year (24 vs. 25 years active).
A note: only two players in the top 30 list in Serie A appearances are still active: Buffon, and 34-year-old Alberto Gilardino, who has played for 11 clubs in his career and is still 104 appearances back of Totti.
Past all the numbers stands a humble man who served one fanbase as loyally as humanly possible. Totti’s accomplishments are not only among the greatest in the history of the game, but it also may never be surpassed by anyone as long as we live.
The Blues shot-stopper started all but two PL matches this past campaign, and now the Belgian international is seeking an extension with the London club.
“Contract talks haven’t opened but I am happy at Chelsea,” Courtois told Sky Sports after Chelsea’s loss to Arsenal at Wembley.
“I hope they reward me with a good contract, then there will be no doubt I will sign it.”
The 25-year-old keeper has been in at Stamford Bridge since arriving from Genk in 2011, but Courtois spent three seasons in Spain on a loan spell.
Courtois likened this PL campaign to his time on loan at Atletico Madrid, stating that while his side’s achievements in the league were everything Chelsea could have hoped for that there was still more the Blues could have done.
“It’s not a good feeling now,” Courtois told Chelsea’s official website. “I had the same thing in Spain when I won the league and then lost the Champions League.
“We wanted to end on a high, now we feel sad. Winning is everything so this is hard to face but we have to try to forget it.”