Adored on and off the field, Francesco Totti, also referred to by Romans as the “Eighth King of Rome”, “Pupone” or just “The Captain”, is a true symbol of the city and one of the most beloved and greatest Roman footballers ever.
Born in Rome, Francesco played for local teams and the Roma young squad until his debut with Roma Football Club, from which he has never left, despite the extremely lucrative offers from many major European clubs. His career choices, his simple family life, and dedicated philanthropic work have made him one of the most popular soccer players in Italy, not only with Roma fans. His sense of humor and generous nature have found a place in the hearts of all citizens who appreciate the simplicity of Totti. He is a constant in Roman life today and you can often see him in commercials and tv spots.
Francesco was born on Sept. 27, 1976 in Appio Latino district near Port Metronia in Rome. He started playing football with the youth Smit Trastevere, his first team. In 1989, at thirteen years old, he was noticed and joined the Roma youth squad. Francesco Totti continued to play for the youth squad for three years until the 1992-1993 season when he was called up to the first team by coach Boskov. At just 16, he made his debut in Serie A, making it onto the field in the final minutes of the match between Brescia and Rome.
His talent for the game was being noticed and he began to play more often during the following season. On February 27, 1994 he made his first official debut as a starter in Serie A, during the match Roma-Sampdoria (0-1). On August 21, 1994, during a friendly match against Valencia, he scored his first unofficial goal. In the following seasons, he began to play more games and scored his first goal on 24 September 1994 in a 1–1 draw against Foggia. That season he played 28 games and scored 2 goals. From 1993 to 1996 Totti continued to play in Rome, under the direction of Carlo Mazzone who fully supported and encouraged Francesco. By 1995, Totti had become a regular in the starting eleven and scored 16 goals in the next three seasons.
In 1996, clashes between the new Argentinean coach Bianchi and Totti almost resulted in Francesco’s departure from Rome in exchange for Litnamen. However, during the City tournament on February 9, 1997, at the Olympic Stadium in Rome, Totti scored twice against his would be new team and showed his worth. Bianchi realized the talent he already had with Totti and changed attitude.
The 1997-98 season for Totti was a growing and learning experience under the new coach Zeman and technical trainer Boemo. November 9, 1997 Totti made his first double goal in Serie A at the Stadio San Nicola in Bari,confirming his ever improving ability and style. Totti made 8 goals and some considerable contributions to the fourth place finish of Roma that season. The following season on October 31, 1998 Aldair handed over the Captain title. Throughout those 2 seasons alone, Totti made 30 goals and played 70 games.
The following season Fabio Capello was confirmed as coach instead of Zeman, who began to design a strong and competitive team around the captain. In the 1999-2000 season, AS Roma finished the season in sixth place. At the end of the season Totti was nominated and awarded by the Italian Football Association (Associazione Italiana Calciotori- AIC) as best young player.
During the 2000-2001 season, Rome acquired Gabriel Batistuta, who along with Totti and Vincenzo Montella formed the "trio of wonders". The “Giallorossi” (yellow and reds) continued their climb in the classification and at the winter break were already 6 points ahead of the pack. At the next to last game, Totti scored against Naples seemingly confirming Roma’s championship victory , however ten minutes from the end, Naples came back to finish the game 1-2. At that point, Rome had to win against Parma to secure the victory and on June 17, 2001, in a record breaking sold out and highly anticipated game at the Olympic stadium (Olympico) in Rome, the championship win was confirmed by all 3 of the trio of wonders for a 3-1 finish making AS Roma Italian Champions.
The AIC named Totti the best Italian footballer and submitted him as a candidate for the Pallone d’Oro (The Golden Football), where he finished fifth in the ranking. On August 19, 2001 AS Roma, led by Totti, won the Italian Supercup, by beating Fiorentina 3-0 at the Olimpico. Totti having scored the third goal. During the 2002-2003 season, Totti began to play a striker position exclusively, even though he is a born playmaker and sometimes played center. That season, Totti scored his first hat-trick in Serie A, during an away game against Brescia 3-2. Also during this season, he won the game against Real Madrid (0-1) on 30 October 2002 with a precision power kick from the air.
In 2003 he received two more AIC nominations as the best Italian footballer and the best player ever. The 2003-2004 season was another winner for Roma and Totti, though the team ultimately had to settle for second place. The next season, on December 19, 2004, Totti scored twice during the Roma-Parma (5-1) game, reaching 108 goals in the league and becoming the top scorer in the history of AS Roma, surpassing Roberto Pruzzo. In the spring of 2005, Totti renewed his contract with AS Roma until 2010 with a price tag of € 10.4 million per season.
In January 2006, on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Pelé had nothing but praise for Totti, bluntly calling him "the best player in the world." The World Cup victory in Germany 2006 showed the world this Roman and Italian football leader was now becoming legend. On 19 August 2007, six years after the first win, Totti lead another Italian Super Cup victory, making it the second of his career, beating Inter 1-0 at the Meazza.
On January 16, 2008 Totti reached another important career milestone: in the second half of the Italian Cup quarter-final win against Torino 4-0, Totti scored twice reaching his 200th career goal with the Roma jersey. On January 28, he won the AIC award for best Italian Footballer for the fifth time and top league scorer. He has proved to be one of the most accomplished players in the league: winning 11 AIC awards including 5 as the best Italian footballer, 2 as best footballer ever, 1 as best season performance, 2 as best goal, and 1 as best young player.
On February 24, he beat another record during the home game against Fiorentina: Totti played his 386th game in Serie A with the AS Roma shirt, equaling the record previously held by Giacomo Losi, the famous Roman captain from the sixties. With this, Francesco Totti became the player with most games played in Serie A ever in the history of Rome. On 16 December 2009, Totti extended his contract with Roma, which was to expire in 2010, until June 30, 2014. On 11 October 2010 he was awarded the Golden Foot 2010. On March 13, 2011 he scored twice against Lazio bringing his count up to 8 in derby goals, and helped give AS Roma its 5th consecutive win over their legendary rivals.
March 20th 2010marked Totti’s 200º and 201º regular season goals in Serie A in the match against Fiorentina. This ranked him with other great top scorers, all with more than 200 goals including Silvio Piola, Gunnar Nordahl, Giuseppe Meazza, Jose Altafini and Roberto Baggio.