Francesco Totti was the inaugural recipient of the ‘Legend of Sport’ award at the annual Gazzetta Sports Awards
The 40-year-old, who retired in the summer after an unparalleled 25-year playing career with his boyhood club, was recognised for his remarkable achievements at a ceremony in Milan.
“‘Legend’ is a big word, but I am very happy to receive the first of these,” Totti, who is now a director at the club, said.
“Would I still like to be pulling on my boots? Sometimes when I’m watching a game there are moments, but without me the guys are doing very well; with the coach, with the players.
“It has been the end of one career [this year], but also the start of another.”
Accepting the end of a legendary footballing career was tough, former Italy striker Francesco Totti said in his first interview as Roma director.
“At the beginning, I was talking to myself like a madman: ‘I’m injured, I’m suspended, I’ll be back [in a kit] soon.’ I’ve got used to it now, though,” he told Italy’s Corriere della Sera.
Totti said he struggled with switching off from a routine of ‘waking up early, having breakfast and then going to training, like a machine. Now I have to plan my days. The impact has not been easy’.
He says he still trains everyday, ‘to let off a bit of steam’ and to stay fit.
“If I let myself go, I’ll go up to 300 kilograms, for now I’ve put on at most a couple,” he said.
The 41-year-old hung up his boots in May, breaking down in tears after a 3-2 home win against Genoa that sealed his 25-year playing career with Roma, his boyhood club.
He has no regrets at turning down offers from Real Madrid, the UAE and the United States.
“I would have made lots of money, but I would have ruined a 25-year-old love affair [with Roma],” he said.
Totti said that out of current stars he prefers Lionel Messi to Cristiano Ronaldo, and singled out tennis champion Roger Federer as his sporting hero, who ‘does not even sweat when he plays’.
If Roma, currently in fourth position, do not win the league this season, Totti said he fancied Serie A leaders Napoli, because he liked the idea of the Scudetto going to a southern Italian club.
He also said that starting out a new career as a coach was not a ‘priority now’, aside from following the football career of his 12-year-old son Cristian.