Liverpool FC legend and iconic former captain Steven Gerrard has revealed what it is like to face Francesco Totti on the football pitch, hailing him as ‘the King of Rome’.
Roma released Gerrard’s exclusive interviewed tribute to Totti ahead of AS Roma’s clash against Gerrard’s former side, Liverpool, as the two teams prepared to meet in the USA during this summer.
With Totti still an influential and creative presence in the Roma side, Gerrard explained what it was really like to play against the master fantasista:
I think when you get close to him you realise how strong he is on the ball. Totti is a fantastic technician and a wonderful footballer.
He picks up some wonderful positions between the lines. I remember playing the holding role against him once and he was always out of sight; he always picked up clever positions in the Number 10 role and the ball was like on a Velcro to his boot – he was very skilfull and manoeuvred the ball very well.
He had vision and could see things on the pitch that other players couldn’t see, so as a player, I’ve got unbelievable respect for him. I’ve managed to meet him a couple of times along the way and he seems good guy as well. He’s shown incredible loyalty to his club and his badge and he deserves all the plaudits he gets and I can only add to that.
It’s been a pleasure to compete against him a couple of times and I’d have certainly loved to have played in the same team as him. He’s a player who’d be on the same wavelength that I would be looking for. He would have been an absolute joy to play with.
For many years Gerrard was the symbol of Liverpool, dominating the midfield for years and carrying both the team’s and the fans hopes and dreams on his shoulders; something he can identify with Totti – the epitome of a one-club man, from the city he was born and raised in.
The reason I respect him is because he has all the pressure on his shoulders in Rome. He’s the King of Rome.
Having played for Liverpool, I understand the responsibility and the pressure he’s got to deliver for his supporters. I’ve been there and I’ve seen it with my own eyes. They idolise him there and that comes with its own pressure. So to perform consistently for Roma for such a long time and stay loyal…I’ve got an awful lot of respect for him. He’s certainly a legend over in Italy.