'Leaving Roma is like dying': Legendary figure Francesco Totti departs Serie A giants after 30 years
Arguably the greatest player in Roma's history, Italian football icon Francesco Totti has brought an end to his three-decade spell in the Italian capital by resigning as director, saying leaving the Serie A club was 'like dying'.
The 42-year-old, who was part of Italy's World Cup-winning side in 2006, spent his entire professional career with Roma before retiring in 2017 with having scored 307 goals from 786 appearances for the club.
Totti has concentrated on the off-the-field matters at the club since his playing days ended, but rumors persisted of a sour relationship with president James Pallotta, despite the American announcing that he had offered Totti the role of technical director.
However, Totti confirmed his exit from the club in an hour-long press conference, saying: "I resign as a Roma executive. I was hoping that this day never came. Instead, this ugly and heavy day has arrived.
"This is far worse than retiring as a player. Leaving Roma is like dying. I feel like it'd be better if I died."
Totti joined Roma as a youth player in 1989 and made his full debut four years later. He won the Serie A in 2001 as well as two Coppa Italias, as well as amassing 58 caps for his national team.
He confirmed that he would one day like to return to the club alongside another recently retired Roma icon, Daniele De Rossi - but only if the club was under new management.
"If I was the president of Roma and had two icons like Totti and De Rossi, I'd put them in charge of everything," he said, in a clear criticism of the current regime.
"Pallotta surrounded himself with the wrong people and he only listens to them. Everyone makes mistakes, but if you make the same mistakes for eight years, you have to ask yourself some questions. Something clearly is going wrong."Also on rt.com 'You're offending the shirt': Diego Maradona slams Argentina following Copa America defeat