Roman emperor (cont.)
Posted: Monday October 22, 2007 11:58AM; Updated: Monday October 22, 2007 12:22PM
World Soccer: As well as the Golden Shoe, you won the Coppa Italia and the Italian Super Cup. Are you in with a chance of winning the European player of the year award, and who else might be in the running?
Totti: I'm thinking of Kaká, Cristiano Ronaldo and Ruud van Nistelrooy. But maybe I am a candidate, also. I think for all players who feel they have a chance it is important to have a good group phase in the Champions League.
World Soccer: What are your feelings about the Champions League?
Totti: It's the only prize I have never won, but as a Roma player it is very difficult to win it. Of course, I dream of winning the Champions League, but every year the same teams are the favorites. The [other] Italian teams, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United. Barcelona is a serious contender because they've got Ronaldinho, Henry, Messi and [Samuel] Eto'o.
World Soccer: Roma plays Manchester United again in the group stage. Will you be looking for revenge after the 7-1 defeat in last season's quarterfinals?
Totti: Of course, I would love to win 7-0. But I had better not say these kinds of things. The English tabloids print everything because they have to sell a lot of copies.
World Soccer: You have announced your international retirement. Why did you quit?
Totti: I turned over an important page in my career. It was a hard decision but I had to make it. It was too much for me. It has nothing to do with Roberto Donadoni as a coach. I decided to quit when Marcello Lippi was still coach.
World Soccer: Do you still think that, as a player from Rome, you attract criticism?
Totti: Yes. In difficult times the media used me as a scapegoat. They say I am lazy and a tourist. That hurts me a lot.
World Soccer: Is there any chance of a return?
Totti: The 2010 World Cup finals would be a tremendous experience. I would say ni [Italian for yes and no]. It is very difficult to say something about it at this moment. I'm not saying I'll never come back. Of course I want to play in the World Cup in South Africa, but a lot of things have to happen. My life at this moment, playing for my club and being with my wife and kids, makes me happy.
World Soccer: Do you think Roma will be among the Serie A title contenders this season? Inter coach Roberto Mancini says your team is playing very well but you finished 22 points behind his side last season as it won the championship.
Totti: That's true, but Inter had 40 quality players and we were usually using the same players. But when you see the first XI, I think Roma has a stronger team. I see us as one of the four favorite teams. But we are from Rome. When it's good, it's really good, but when it's bad, they kill you. Over the summer we lost Cristian Chivu, the best central defender in the world. But with Juan, Cicinho and Ludovic Giuly, we have three good new players and, of course, our squad is young and ambitious.
World Soccer: Could you ever leave Rome?
Totti: It's my town, I grew up in the city and I've lived here all my life. Roman people are special. What I have with this club I could never find anywhere else. I worked for my place here and I am not curious about how things are at another club.
World Soccer: Do you go out and about in Rome?
Totti: Certainly not. It's eight years since I went out in the city, and that was by night. I have not been there in the daytime for 18 years. It is hard to be Totti. My life is at Trigoria, Roma's training center, and at home. My life with my wife, Ilary, and the kids, Christian and Chanel, is private and I want to keep it that way. People have to accept that.
-- Interview by Massimo Cecchini, Vincent Okker and Chris Tempelman/ESM
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