In offside this week we count down to the top 10 most unlucky players who have never won the elusive Ballon d’Or.
No 10: Francesco Totti
“Totti is the world’s number one. He represents Italian football and the Italian fans will have fun with him.”
These are the word’s of the famous Diego Maradona back in 2004. The year when Totti was included in FIFA’s 100 greatest living players. When one of the world’s greatest speaks well about you then you must have something special. Something unique. And that’s exactly what Francesco Totti does. “Something great, something unique.” A genuine No 10 or a false No 9, no matter how you choose to look at him. He will still be up there. With the best. With the greats.
Maradona spoke these words back in 2004 and it is 2017 now. And believe it or not, but Totti is still playing. No, not in some random Chinese wealth functioned club but at AS Roma. The club where he was in 2004. The club where he has been all his life. In a generation where loyalty is synonymous to Euros and Pounds, Totti remains a one club person. Not many players can boast of that record.
Totti and Roma are just made for each other:
Totti joined Roma’s youth academy in 1989 and went on to make his senior debut back in 1992. And there has been no looking back since then. The Italian has gone on to play over 700 matches for Roma. Scoring numerous goals and performing some equally crazy celebrations. That one time when he scored a last-minute goal in 1999 and revealed a shirt under his jersey which read, “Vi ho purgato ancora”. In English that basically meant “I’ve purged you guys again.”
Totti was equally loved adored and respected when he was playing for the Azzurri. He played 58 games for the Blues and there were moments when no one else came even close to him. That one time in the 2000 Euro’s when Totti was about to take a penalty against Netherland’s Edwin Van der Sar and Luigi di Biagio looked all tensed and worried. Totti went up to him and calmly said, “Don’t worry, I’ll chip him.” Not many players have the courage to take a penalty, forget about even uttering such bold words.
Totti has been showered with numerous accolades down the years. He’s been in the All Stars teams of the 2006 World Cup and 2000 Euro’s. He’s won the European Golden and the Golden Foot. But somehow the Ballon d’Or has always eluded him, one way or the other.