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Friday December 14 2012
Totti still the King of Rome

As Roma go from strength-to-strength, Alex Mott looks at the remarkable form of Francesco Totti under Zdenek Zeman.

When Zdenek Zeman was announced as the new Coach of Roma in the summer, many, myself included, whooped and hollered for days. His two year spell at the Giallorossi saw some of the capital’s most spell-binding football – 5-0 wins over Empoli and Milan, 6-2 and 4-1 victories against Napoli and Fiorentina. It was swash-buckling, reckless and completely brilliant – for the neutral.

The Czech tactician was sacked under a cloud in 1999 after speaking out against what he saw as the ills of the Italian game. The Stadio Olimpico side went from strength-to-strength under successor Fabio Capello, Zeman meanwhile spent the next 13 years hob-nobbing around Europe.

Twelve month spells at Fenerbahce, Red Star Belgrade, Foggia and Pescara followed, but it wasn’t until last pre-season that the 65-year-old returned to his rightful home looking to finish what he had started pre-millennium.

He immediately introduced the sort of high-intensity game that the Lupi tifosi had been expecting – vertical, counter-attacking and wonderfully wild. Three successive games in mid-October just about summed up the Zeman-way – a 4-2 win over Genoa and 3-2 losses to Udinese and Parma. With just two games to go until the winter break however, no team has scored more. Unfortunately for the Giallorossi, only three teams have conceded more.

It was all very much as-read, but what supporters in the Curva Sud weren’t expecting was the way in which the elder statesman in the dugout has got the best out of the elder statesman on the pitch. Of all the things to happen in the first five months of his return, no one thought Zeman could get these sorts of performances out of Francesco Totti.

It goes against all reasoning, all logical thought. The Total Football ideal of the Coach just shouldn’t be conducive to a world-weary 36-year-old, but as the attacker said himself, despite initial hesitation, the squad are finally taking aboard the boss’ remarks.  “It’s only normal that people criticise when the results don’t come,” he told reporters after their 4-2 win over Fiorentina. “But now we are doing what the Coach asks and you can see the difference.

“When we win like this, it is Roma’s essence that gets the victory. Now more than ever we are a happy group glad to be playing an always attacking style of football. We’re all pushing in the same direction now.”

That togetherness and complete belief in each other has seen Totti reach heights not realised in years. And the stats back it up – six goals in 15 League games, and perhaps most tellingly of all, seven assists have seen strikers Pablo Osvaldo and Mattia Destro profit greatly from Il Re di Roma. Not since the Luciano Spalletti days have the capital side been this free-flowing, this exciting, this unpredictable up front.

Despite their mixed start to the campaign, the Magica have now gone five games without defeat in all competitions, climbing up to fifth in the Serie A table thanks, largely, to the performances of the former Italy international.

As Zeman once said: “Who are the five best Italian players? Totti, Totti, Totti, Totti and Totti. I’m more convinced now than I ever was that Francesco is one of the best players of all time.”

That complete belief in his captain has reaped rewards on the pitch. If injuries steer clear, who knows how far Roma can go under the Zeman-Totti partnership this season…

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Have your say...
Wow......... great! Totti is the king of all footballers in the world as you know his career and performance, please don't compare him with the others because his technique is so high when we compare with the others.
He must be king of Italy Totti...totti.... i love you for ever
on the 1st March, 2013 at 11:41pm
Totti is simply born for foot ball, and thanks for almighty GOD, his mother and father to bring this magic and magnificent player for our globe. beside this he will be remained forever and a day by those who love soccer and know how to play soccer. just mind you here if you are healthy people you will appreciate his creativity such like; especially his magic goals and passes are out of this planet and dazzling as well even maradonna zidan, ronaldo, do not did like this.

Viva TOTTI e ROMA!!!!
on the 5th January, 2013 at 6:48pm
what's the usual celebration when totti scores? could some one say the exact thing in italian that supporters and commenters say?
on the 31st December, 2012 at 10:07pm
The king of italy was and will always be the legendary roberto baggio
on the 24th December, 2012 at 3:38pm
@Mustafa
Surely i have great respect del piero. But where is he now? Still playing in Italy?
on the 18th December, 2012 at 3:44am
Totti has had an amazing career and he is showing again this year just how great he is. There have been many offers for him to leave Roma for elsewhere on the continent, but he is Roman and has no desire to play anywhere else! Forza Il Capitano, di bimbo di oro, Di symbolo di Roma!!
on the 17th December, 2012 at 7:43pm
Mustafa, leave this article blog. No disrespect to del piero, but this article is about totti, and not your del piero. Totti individual honors speak for them selfs. He is the most complete of the individuals you or any one can try to compare him too. It's arrogant to step in and talk foolishly about others when the article is about totti. If you personally disagree, then keep your words to yourself.
on the 16th December, 2012 at 8:20pm
@ Fion

Have ever heard of Del Piero ?
on the 16th December, 2012 at 5:09pm
@ Viktor El Shaarawy
on the 16th December, 2012 at 5:08pm
@Mustafa
Then who's the king of Italy?
on the 16th December, 2012 at 4:54am
@mustafa

Lol whoes your king of Italy?
on the 15th December, 2012 at 8:20pm
C.Ronaldo and Messi are terrific players, still of young age. But Totti has been on top level consistently for 15 years and at 36 years of age I can't think of anyone else like him, possibly Ryan Giggs, although the Roma's captain gets himself more involved in the game.
Zidane, Ronaldo, Zico, Maradona, technically perhaps better than Totti, but none of them was as complete and consistent throughout their careers.
on the 15th December, 2012 at 1:22pm
*I really hope
on the 15th December, 2012 at 12:48pm
@ Fion

King of Roma? Affirmative.

King of Italy? Negtive !

There is always going to be one king of Italy and you know who that is.
on the 15th December, 2012 at 12:47pm
As for Zeman, I hope that he stays healthy, & that he continues to coach Roma for many years to come. He is fantastic for Italian football. His attacking philosophy & courage to play youngsters is a breath of fresh air. How many Italian coaches would have the bottle to use 18 & 17-years-old centre-backs?! He really hope that Zeman spawns many disciples around Italy.
on the 15th December, 2012 at 11:05am
Totti has been awesome this season. Baggio will always be my favourite player, but Totti right now is coming mighty close. Totti is like a more prolific version of Zidane. I just wish that he had showed his true quality for the national team, on a consistent basis. Then the world would have hailed him as an all-time great. Messi & Ronaldo get all the hype, because of their crazy goal tallies; but personally, I find Totti more thrilling to watch.
on the 15th December, 2012 at 10:52am
2 words for you..
LAZIO 3-2 ROMA!!
on the 15th December, 2012 at 10:11am
As someone who roots for all Italian teams, it's hard to not wanna cheer this current Roma project whole-heartedly. The mix of veterans and a million young, talented players witha style that's pleasing to the eye makes them a must watchat the very least. Totti has been playing so well Prandelli should start sending him some sweet texts begging him to rock the Azzuri jersey once again. Zeman even has Perrotta contributing to the cause. Full marks lad.
on the 15th December, 2012 at 4:06am
Totti has always been great, it's up to the coaches to decide whether to express that greatness. Zeman has done just that and, if we stick by him throughout this season, there's no reason why we cannot win the league. We haven't seen silverware for too long and as the capital, we should be setting the example of what real football is and how grit and hard work can lead to great success. We need win after win after win. Forza Roma!
on the 14th December, 2012 at 11:48pm
THE GREATEST!
on the 14th December, 2012 at 8:02pm
I wonder if an player in the history has been as good as Totti is now at the age of 36. Totti knows how to get the best out from him on the pitch.
on the 14th December, 2012 at 7:45pm
I wonder if an player in the history has been as good as Totti is now at the age of 36. Totti knows how to get the best out from him on the pitch.
on the 14th December, 2012 at 7:45pm
The Italian commentator said it all during the game: "la partita piu bella dell'anno, una partita grandissima." Eat it Barca!!!! Zeman would take time, every reasonable fan knew only by november/december would we see a bit a reaping.... But this game: show this to all La Liga and EPL fans: THIS was football how it was meant for the neutrals. With Juve a force in Europe again, the likes of Napoli, Inter, Roma and Fiorentina entertaining and growing, Italy will be a considered a force again
on the 14th December, 2012 at 7:19pm
Actually it's no surprise that the Zeman style of play suits Totti very well - he's always been excellent at making the quick vertical passes and pushing the tempo which are the cornerstones of Zeman's strategy, and he much prefers to play this way than in a more patient style with slow build up. Sure, it's physically demanding style of play, but then which isn't these days?
on the 14th December, 2012 at 6:19pm
...awesome.

but i anticipate all the haters to sound off soon, blasting this article and preaching the godliness of their own favorite player or supporting club. zeman at the moment is going good things with very good results. and totti is totti. and if that means he is the best, ...then so be it!!!
on the 14th December, 2012 at 6:14pm
Totti still the king of serie A & will remain the king of roma forever
on the 14th December, 2012 at 6:13pm
Ha?? ''Still'' the king of roma?
As a roma fan, i never doubt the importance and influence of Totti. Please note that he is the king of roma forever...and king of Italy...
on the 14th December, 2012 at 6:08pm
Zemanlandia is spectacular!!

Totti plays in his right position left attacking striker, this position allow him to explore his skill and genious magic..

Hope we can get the third place for champions league spot this season and scudetto the next season..

COL CUERO IN SUD !'
on the 14th December, 2012 at 5:54pm

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