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Totti plays down retirement talk

Roma skipper Francesco Totti has cooled reports he is set to retire, insisting it is "too early to think about it".

Totti has spent his entire career at Roma, playing over 500 matches for the Serie A giants and becoming their all-time leading goalscorer in the process.

The 36-year-old has two years remaining on his contract, but reports in Italy continue to suggest the former Azzurri striker will soon hang up his boots. Totti, though, says retirement is not something that has entered his mind yet.

"For me, it's just football," he told TV Sorrisi e Canzoni. "I always think about the next game.

"Maybe when I retire, I will figure something out to warmly greet everyone for their support, but now it is too early to think about it."

Totti, known in his homeland as 'Il Gladiatore', says one of the highlights of his life came away from the football pitch and it helped he and his team-mates to embody the Roma spirit.

"The most real and intense encounter of my life? Meeting Pope John Paul II. I cannot forget his gentle eyes and the feeling of peace that he seemed to exert.

"It's true, I have been called Gladiator in Rome, but I think our courage is not linked to our roles or fame. Rather, we work for the things we believe in and do our best for ourselves and our loved ones every day," he said.

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