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Friday, July 20, 2007

Francesco Totti Retires From International Competition

As expected, today in Rome, Francesco Totti announced his retirement from international football. He has not featured for the Azzurri since the final game of the World Cup, and had stated that playing for AS Roma was his main priority. He suffered a very serious leg injury prior to the World Cup, and lesser players would not have been able to recover so quickly. Last season he was the leading scorer (26) in the Serie A, and also the top scorer in Europe.

"Ho deciso di smettere per non creare alcun problema al gruppo e allo staff tecnico; ho presa questa dura decisione per motivi fisici e non tecnici. Ho valutato la cosa per un anno dopo il Mondiale e ho deciso di smettere".

"I decided to quit so as not to create any problems for the group and technical staff. I made this hard decision for physical motivations and not technical ones. I weighed the decision for a year after the World Cup and I have decided to quit."

"Per me la mia salute è la cosa più importante. Un tot di partite all'anno non riesco a farle, a qualcosa devo rinunciare. Quindi alla Nazionale. È una decisione che fa più male a me che ad altre persone. A qualcosa devo rinunciare e purtroppo devo dire alla nazionale perché alla Roma non posso, la Roma ha la priorità".

"For me my health is the most important thing. I can't play in a great number of games every year, and I have to forego some of them. Therefore, the National team. It is a decision that bothers me more than other persons. I had to give up something, and unfortunately, I have to give up the National team because for Roma, I can't. Roma has the priority."

For me, he is a great player who never fully blossomed on the international stage. For example if we compare him to Roberto Baggio, who played a similar role, the latter scored 27 times in 56 appearances. But Totti won a World Cup. Baggio will forever, rightly or wrongly, be remembered for his penalty kick miss against Brasil in the WC 94 final.

Career Highlights for the Azzurri
  • 58 appearances with his debut against Switzerland in 1998.
  • 9 goals.
  • 2 red cards: South Korea in WC 2002 and Denmark at Euro 2004.
  • Two famous penalty kicks: One against Holland at Euro 2000 during the shoot-out, and the winning penalty kick versus Australia in extra time at World Cup 2006.
  • Banned from the Euro 2004 tournament for spitting at Christian Poulsen of Denmark.
  • Honors: Runner-up at Euro 2000, champion at WC 2006, and he also won an Under-21 European title.
For a look at his penalty kick against Holland, please click here.

Reference:

Gazzetta dello Sport, 20 July 2007: Nazionale addio. Priorita alla Roma.

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