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Totti begins new era in style

An Italian saying states "you can tell a good day from the morning" and as dawn breaks on the UEFA Europa League, Francesco Totti is aiming to write AS Roma's name into the story of the competition.

Francesco Totti scored five goals over two legs against Gent
Francesco Totti scored five goals over two legs against Gent ©Getty Images

According to an old Italian saying, you can tell a good day from the morning – "Il buongiorno si vede dal mattino". If that is the case, Francesco Totti has got out of bed on the right side in the new UEFA Europa League and is aiming to write AS Roma's name into history.

'Important competition'
The Roma captain scored five times in two games in a 10-2 aggregate third qualifying round victory against KAA Gent to fire the Giallorossi through to the play-off round, including a hat-trick in Thursday's 7-1 second-leg triumph in Belgium. "This is an important competition," Totti said. "Winning the trophy would guarantee our team a place in the history books. I hope to go as far as possible in this competition, but the first target is to reach the group stage as we have another round to get through first."

Roma will discover their play-off opponents in Friday's draw in Nyon and Totti is confident his side are well placed to advance after quickly hitting their stride against Gent. "I'm happy for the team in particular because it wasn't easy to win so emphatically against such a strong and motivated side, who where probably better prepared than us physically. I didn't mind being replaced in the second half even though, in all honesty, I would have liked to stay on the pitch until the final whistle because I wanted to score my 30th goal in Europe. I hope to score it in the next round."

'All the way'
With 178 goals in Serie A – all of them in the Roma shirt – the 32-year-old is the ninth highest scorer in the history of the Italian top flight. Given his current form, it should not be long before he climbs further up the ladder. "I'm glad to have started the season like this though obviously I can't even hope to continue like this," he said. "Five goals every two games would not be human. I just hope we can go all the way in this competition even if we have just started."

Extraordinary quality
Totti signed a new five-year contract with Roma at the end of July and coach Luciano Spalletti hopes his talisman can continue producing the goods at this level for some time to come. "He is like that," Spalletti said. "He can decide a game at any moment, on set-pieces, in normal play, with his phenomenal passing. This year he was able to work well over the summer after suffering a few injuries last season. This can make the difference for us because he has extraordinary qualities."