Franceso Totti has been voted Italy’s current best player in a poll conducted by La Gazzetta dello Sport. This award can be added to his two time Serie A player of the year, five times Italian footballer of the year and being named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers.
The Captain of the Giallorossi managed to fight off some prestigious opposition in the form of Roma team mate and friend Daniele de Rossi and the ever dependable Andrea Pirlo from Milan. Out with injury at present the Roma front man was indeed pleased with the accolade stating that, “To receive this type of gratification will be an extra motive to get back to playing quickly and above all to ensure that those people who voted for me don’t lose faith in me.” When asked who he thought should have won the award Totti insisted that Gigi Buffon was the deserved winner as in Francesco’s eyes “He is football”. He also went on to say that Daniele De Rossi would have also been a worthy winner.
Over the years the 33 year old has in the amazed crowds of both home and away fans with his effortless finishing, ballet like movement and instinctive football brain. With this award adding fuel to the fire of whether he should come out of International retirement for the impending World Cup the question should be asked, is the praise justified or is it based solely of a nostalgic and idyllic memory of the Totti of yester year? Il Capitano has had his critics in the past from the media, away fans and even his own Ultras have been known to cast shadows of doubt over their hero. This season sees Roma in second place in the Scudetto and on course for a historic treble due to good performances in the Coppa Italia and the Europa League and Totti along with Danilele De Rossi, Julio Sergio and David Pizzaro have all played a major part in this. Franceso Totti’s personal tally this season is one goal in the Europa League, and ten in Serie A in which he has also contributed with four assists, not bad for a man who due to injury has only made seventeen starts. Totti has produced some memorable individual performances on top of his new found workman like ethic. A brace at Fiorentina capped a remarkable display as he single-handedly demolished an in form side. Displays like this have not been one off as a hat-trick against Bari showed that he still had all the ability although now it was all much more refined, a brace at the Stadio Olimpico against Napoli also went far to reflect this.
After winning this award the talisman front man would have loved nothing more that to exhibit his talents against Milan on Saturday however, he is still absent with knee problems. This is the only negative in the argument as to why Totti should not have won this award. Problems with his knee have dogged his season threatening at one point to need surgery in turn keeping him out of the rest of the season and the World Cup should he choose to return. Claudio Ranieri had the following to say about his captain, “It will be a while longer before Francesco Totti is back,” he said. “He’s a great man, but sometimes he pushes himself too much. He has tendinitis and isn’t recovering well. We aren’t worried though as we know that he will be back for the most important part of the season” This is a double edged sword for Roma fans as his form this season demands that he is in the side and hence he will be missed in games with the magnitude of the Milan game, but in turn Roma are still in three competitions it will be of great comfort to know that their hero will be back for the seasons crunch games. One thing is for sure, with a contract until 30 June 2014, Totti expects to be playing for much longer in the yellow and red of the Giallorossi and injury permitting he will be able to continue the impressive form that has captured the imagination of the voters in La Gazzetta dello Sport’s poll.
Arguments for and against whether Totti has been the best Italian player this term will no doubt as we speak be enveloping the coffee shops, living rooms and bars of Italy and many will disagree with the poll. What can be said is that without injury and playing in full swing there is not many better sights in European football than Francesco Totti in full flight.