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Timeless Totti bows out a Roma legend

With Francesco Totti having now played his final game for Roma, UEFA.com takes another look at what made the 40-year-old forward the Giallorossi's 'King of Rome'.

Timeless Totti bows out a Roma legend
Timeless Totti bows out a Roma legend ©Getty Images

There was emotion aplenty and no little drama as Francesco Totti's magnificent Roma career drew to a close on Sunday. The 40-year-old came on after 54 minutes at home to Genoa and helped his beloved Giallorossi claim a late 3-2 win to finish second in Serie A and seal a UEFA Champions League group stage place.

It was Totti's 786th appearance for the club he has represented since 1993, and he bowed out with a remarkable 307 goals to his name – not to mention the lasting affection of Roma fans everywhere. UEFA.com explains why half of the Italian capital chose him as their king.

He never deserted the club
A debutant under Vujadin Boškov in 1993, Totti has only had eyes for the Giallorossi. "Roma is everything to me, everything a person can want: passion, love, joy – the team I have always supported and always will," he once told UEFA.com.

That commitment, allied to his class as a forward, helped create Totti's legend. If his trophy haul at Roma was fairly modest – one Scudetto, two Italian Cups – his reputation is huge.

©AFP/Getty Images

Lionel Messi notably posted a photo of himself and Totti together on Instagram after the 2015 Trofeu Joan Gamper with the caption: "UN GRANDE !!! Qué fenómeno !!!"

His selflessness and sense of humour
A UNICEF goodwill ambassador since 2003, Totti has taken his role seriously. From publishing a best-selling, and famously self-effacing, joke book to singing songs and playing an exhibition tennis match with Novak Djoković, the forward has been dedicated to the cause.

Even the Messi shirt he received from Barcelona went to a charity auction rather than his personal collection.

Nor is he selfish when it comes to his own jersey. There would be justification for Roma retiring Totti's No10 shirt now he has hung up his boots, yet the 58-times Italian international will not hear of it.

"The No10 is like a second skin for me, but everybody should have a chance of wearing it and above all honouring it by achieving the highest possible goals," he said when Roma fans grumbled about newly arrived 18-year-old Brazilian Gerson having the temerity to pose in a Roma No10 two years ago.

Totti on his record

He kept on on going
"I am 38 but I don't feel it," Totti told UEFA.com upon becoming the oldest goalscorer in UEFA Champions League history in 2014, three days after his 38th birthday. Two days on from his 40th, he then played a part in three of Roma's goals in a 4-0 UEFA Europa League defeat of Astra Giurgiu.

Roma's other notable one-club man, Daniele De Rossi, was nicknamed 'Captain Future' not long after his debut in 2001, since many felt he was Totti's natural successor. Now he is delighted to still be in the striker's shadow. "As a boy, I was ecstatic just to see him play," he said in 2015. "He still does amazing things on the pitch. I think I'm destined to be 'Captain Future' forever – he is the all-time captain."

Even his penalties were special
From thunderous volleys from impossible angles to delicious lobs, Totti registered so many great goals that naming a top five would be as difficult as selecting the best five monuments in the Eternal City.

Totti even made converting penalties look stylish – witness his Panenka chip against the Netherlands in the UEFA EURO 2000 semi-finals. "To take a penalty like that in such a game you must be crazy or really good," he once said. "I don't think I'm crazy." Watch this back-heeled effort in training.

Five great Totti goals

His celebrations made every goal seem special
Despite scoring so many, Totti never tired of celebrating these exploits, with derby goals against Lazio bringing out his creative side. In 2012, after notching from the penalty spot, the skipper famously took the place of a television cameraman to film the scenes of joy in the Curva Sud.

In 2015 he hit a wonderful volley on his 40th outing against Lazio, becoming the Derby della Capitale's all-time leading marksman, and promptly took a selfie with the Roma fans in the background. "I don't usually take selfies but I broke an important record and wanted it to be a moment I would remember," he explained. "It was a great goal – the photo was not as great, but it's OK."

When he overtook Roberto Baggio as Serie A's top still-active scorer with an effort in a 3-2 victory over Bari in May 2011, Totti whipped off his jersey to reveal a T-shirt bearing the slogan: "The king of Rome is not dead." Although the king has now retired, his place in Roma and world football legend is secure.