It looks like Francesco Totti may not be hanging up his boots just yet, with Tokyo Verdy president revealing he has negotiated a contract with the Italian star.
Totti broke many hearts of the AS Roma faithful when he announced his retirement at the end of last season. Totti is now 40, but by most accounts still a component player, able to play at the rhythm required for the Serie A competition.
Although Totti never officially complained, it was evident that the player would have wanted more playing time for Roma during the last seasons. Furthermore, when the player took the field, he usually seemed physically fit and up to the task of leading the team. Totti may have called time on his career at Roma, but he has not officially ruled out the possibility of returning to the field next season, albeit in a different location.
Hideyuki Hanyu, president of J2 League’s Tokyo Verdy, says he has talked to Totti and that there is a strong possibility the Italian legend could head over to Japan. As is the case with many of Europe’s top players reaching the twilight years of their career, Totti was linked with a move to the MLS. The move seems now to not be on the cards anymore. Hanyu says that to his understanding the Japanese club and remaining at Roma are Totti’s two options at the moment.
“I’m currently hearing from the agent that there are only two options now for Totti, either to stay at Roma or play at Verdy. No options in America now,” Hanyu told reporters following a game played by his side against Fagiano Okayama.
Totti may feel the desire to follow in the footsteps of the likes of Alessandro Del Piero and use his skills and popularity to travel to some rather more exotic football championships, but the motivation to remain a “one club player” may also have an important pull for the player.
“There was an offer from Miami and LA, I heard, but I’ve been told they would not happen. I also hear that there are a lot of voices from fans saying, ‘Totti should finish at Rome’ and so, Totti is wanting to making decision on his own. He might go to travel on his own and decide on his own. He must be really thinking [agonising] seriously about this.”
It was revealed recently that Totti had been offered a management position in the Roma organization. However, if he does decide to move to the J2 club, the team’s president says they will be looking to have him play almost right off the plane trip over.
“We would not offer to him if we have a problem with money,” Hanyu says. “Also we would not buy another player because Totti is special. I’ll speak out ASAP if this happens. Potentially he can play from 22nd if it happens.”