You can take the man out of Rome, but you can’t take Rome out of the man.
Fortunately, for fans of AS Roma, neither will be happening to veteran captain Francesco Totti, as the 36-year-old attacker signed a new contract with his hometown club on Friday.
After long contract negotiations, Totti has signed a new deal that will see him stay at the Stadio Olimpico until he is nearly 40, and the Italian veteran is delighted to extend his stay with the club he joined as a teenager.
“It’s what I and the club wanted,” Totti said. “I thank them for giving me another chance to wear the shirt of the only team I’ve ever supported and loved.”
So, after Totti spoke of receiving plenty of offers to join MLS clubs, does this new contract finally spell the end for a potential move Stateside? I would think so.
But you know what, that isn’t such a bad thing. In the past Totti has spoken out about his admiration for MLS and American culture, but in all honesty there was no way he would leave his beloved Roma. Not even if LA or the New York Red Bulls came in with a humongous contract offer, because as you can tell from his comments, playing for Roma is a dream come true for Totti and his love affair with the club is far from over.
Yes, some MLS fans will be disappointed that one of Italy’s greatest-ever attackers seems to have shut the door on the league, in favor of playing out his career at the only team he has ever known… But in many respects it is another step forward for MLS, as younger European attackers are now being targeted as potential DPs.
The Montreal Impact aside, (sorry guys, but Alessandro Nesta, Matteo Ferrari and Marco Di Vaio are no spring chickens) most MLS clubs are making a concerted effort to bring in younger international players. Look at the recent arrivals of Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins and Gabriel Torres, to name but a few.
Sure, I would’ve love to have seen Totti in MLS. But it’s probably best for everyone that he chose to stay in the Eternal City.