To celebrate 25 years since Francesco Totti made his debut for AS Roma, Nike have chosen to release a special limited edition boot: the Nike Tiempo Legend VI Totti X Roma.
The boots are tribute to the Roman fantasista, with only 2,500 individually numbered pairs – 100 for each of its 25 seasons as a professional – being made available at a cost of £185 from the date of his debut: April 26.
Totti has been the captain of his beloved team since the 1998-99 season and is now considered the Eighth King of Rome. His longevity is truly astounding – to put it into some sort of context around 34% of current Serie A players were not even born when Totti made his debut as a 16-year old.
Il Capitano was in Rome at a special pop-up store to help launch the commemorative boot, and discussed a variety of subjects regarding his extraordinary career.
Here’s 10 (naturally) of the best:
On his debut:
“It was the crowning of a dream. When Boskov called for the substitution, I struggled to believe I was the chosen one. Starting in Serie A with the Roma shirt, for a fan, is the best feeling.”
On modern football and adapting
“In these 24 years football has changed a lot; the rhythm, the intensity. Gradually the physical factor has taken over technique, but I have to say that adapting to the changes for me was natural. The experience in recent years has helped me so much.”
On being the Captain
“It means embodying the dreams of so many children. A great responsibility.”
“It’s very simple. When I was a child I had a dream: to complete a career in the only shirt I have ever loved. And I’ve never betrayed that idea.”
“Rome is the most beautiful city in the world. It is always ready to surprise you with a lane, a corner or a detail. As a Roman and as a follower of Roma it was a privilege to be able to enjoy my career here. Of course, I could have won more trophies elsewhere, but my Championship was loyalty to Rome.”
On the best English footballer
“Steven Gerrard: he’s an example to all.”
On the role of the number 10 today
“Maybe the number 10 no longer occupies the areas of the field that they used to cover before. But I believe that within the fantasista there is the ability to reinterpret the role and offer new solutions in any game.”
On remaining at the top
“I took care of myself and above all I never gave up when serious injuries occurred. Tenacity was decisive.”
On the Scudetto and World Cup wins
“They are different emotions. Of course, for a Roman to win the Scudetto with the jersey of Rome is something indescribable. But also the World Cup in Germany was the top of my career. I am very attached to the group that won in Berlin.”
On the Rome Derby
“Derbies are all special, if we think of the wait and emotions that will transfer you to the city. Certainly, some of them stay with you forever, like the 3-1 in the ’98-’99 season or that of the lobster with the dedication to Ilary. I’m particularly tied to that two years ago, not just for the double that allowed us to compete in the comeback, but for the choreography that I saw in the midst of the great captains and flags that dressed in the Roma shirt.”