Francesco Totti says that leaving Roma ‘is like dying’ as the club’s legendary former captain announced he is leaving his role as technical director.
The 42-year-old addressed the media on Monday afternoon in an 85-minute press conference where he explained why he had decided to bring to an end his 30-year relationship with the club.
Totti said it was a day he ‘hoped never would have come’ but in the end he made the decision having become marginalized behind the scenes by president James Pallotta.
‘I sent an email to say something that felt unimaginable. I wrote my resignation. I was hoping this was not necessary, but the fateful day has arrived, which for me is very ugly and painful,’ he said.
‘Considering the conditions, it was only right that I made this brusque decision, especially as I never had the chance to work on the technical area with Roma.
‘I thought long and hard. Let’s just say it was not my fault that I had to make this decision.
‘They knew my intentions and what I wanted, to give so much to this club and team, but they never wanted me to, in all honesty. They excluded me from every decision.’
Totti retired from playing two years ago after 25 seasons with his hometown club and was given the chance to have a management role in the boardroom.
Speaking openly about his departure, Totti explained how club bosses made him retire and also dictated how his role would have little to no influence on the football side of operations.
He added: ‘Everyone knows they made me stop playing. They wanted me to stop. I had a six-year contract already as a director.
‘I started quietly, realising it’s a completely different sphere to being on the field.
‘Many promises were made and they were never kept. They knew what I wanted.
‘Naturally, as time goes on, you judge, you evaluate, as I too have a character and don’t just sit there doing what they every now and then ask me to do.
‘I did it for Roma, but as time wore on, I didn’t think it fair to put myself at the disposal of people who never wanted me to be there.’
What was particularly striking during Totti’s speech was his suggestion that there are people at the club who are happy to see them fail. The club finished sixth in Serie A last season and missed out on a Champions League spot for 2019-20.
‘At the end of the day, you need a Romanista in there,’ he continued. ‘Because at times, when you see the final whistle and there are smiling faces, it p***es you off.
‘When you see directors who are happy to lose… it happens, but I will never name names. If we are all united, then we can achieve something.’
Roma fans are still reeling from the exit of iconic midfielder Daniele De Rossi and Totti feels the ‘main focus of certain people has been to remove Romans from Roma’ this summer.
‘I talked to Daniele as a friend, not as a director,’ an angry Totti continued. ‘I told him to look forward, look beyond.
‘I was a Roma director, I couldn’t say too much, but as a friend, I gave him advice that there could be problems on the horizon. The problems did arrive, just as they did with me.’