Roma and Italy legend Francesco Totti to retire in summer - Monchi
Roma's new sporting director Monchi has announced that this will be Francesco Totti's final season as a footballer.
Totti, 40, is out of contract in the summer and Monchi, who arrived in the Italian capital last month and is the man responsible for agreeing the players' contracts, told a news conference on Wednesday that there is no room on the club's squad next season for the veteran forward.
"I already knew that he had this agreement with the club [to become a director] and that this was going to be his last year as a player before starting as a director," Monchi said. "Francesco is Roma and I'm going to ask him to be close to me. Even if I can only learn one percent of what he knows, that is already a lot."
Totti has been with Roma since the age of 13, making his first-team debut in 1993. He has gone on to make almost 800 appearances for the club, becoming their record goal scorer, and he is currently the oldest goal scorer in a UEFA Champions League match, finding the net at the age of 38 and 59 days.
He seemed set to end his playing career last season when he was out of favour under coach Luciano Spalletti, but a string of inspirational substitute appearances towards the end of the season convinced the club to extend his deal by a year.
Totti, who won the 2006 World Cup with Italy in Germany, has just four games of the current season to earn another deal, but that now seems unlikely with Monchi confirming that Roma's all-time record appearance maker is approaching the end of his career.
Daniele De Rossi, who has deputised as captain in Totti's absence this season, could still stay at the club despite reported interest from Inter.
His contract is also up for renewal at the end of June, but Monchi believes there is a good chance he will commit to a new one.
"We share a reciprocal desire and interest," Monchi said. "We want to continue together and we would have to be particularly stupid not to reach an agreement. He's a fantastic lad and we'll try to reach this agreement."
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.