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Rome derby has high stakes

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Roma vs. Lazio set to be a classic

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 By Ben Gladwell

Francesco Totti confirms retirement, accepts offer as club director at Roma

Gab Marcotti shares his favourite memory of Francesco Totti and looks back on the Roma legend's career with the club.

Francesco Totti has confirmed that his playing days have come to an end by accepting an offer from Roma to become a club director.

The 40-year-old had been mulling a move to Japanese club Tokyo Verdy, but will not focus on a new chapter, still with the club where he has spent much of his life.

"The first part [of my life] -- being a footballer -- is over and now another, equally important one as a director begins, and I hope that I will be able to what I did on the field," Totti told Roma's website.

"Football is my passion; it's everything. It's friendship, scoring goals, knowing new people. It's something which touched every important part of my body."

In May, Totti played his final match for Roma, for whom he debuted as a 16-year-old in 1993, coming on as a substitute at the Stadio Olimpico as the Giallorossi secured a Champions League spot for next season.

And as Totti prepares for his new career in a suit rather than a Roma shirt, he admits it is still difficult for him to accept his playing days are now behind him.

"28 May 2017 was an historic, important day for me today," he said. "It was a day which marked me a lot. I will always remember it. It will be hard to explain to people the sensations and emotions I felt that day.

"I think it was clear that I never wanted that game, that day to end. It was too important, significant and too emotional for me. More than 25 years of history with Roma was within it. The football field has given me a lot and I tried to give a lot to these people, who showed me so much love day after day.

"That was my main job, while now we approach something different with the same spirit and the same mind, maybe with even more because having so much experience as a footballer, I have the chance to give a big hand.

"I start over again, on a new adventure. I've taken this time to consider it, to reflect and I needed this time to be able to join this club, step by step, with tranquility, serenity and to understand the role which I was most suited to.

"I will try to make myself fully available, from the youth academy through to the president. I expect a rosy, beautiful future. I'll pick a perfect role so that I am able to make this a great team and a great club."

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.

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