The Forever AS Roma man had been lured by Real Madrid twice where he was tempted to join but nothing ever was finalized.
Published By: Dalipinder Singh Sandhu (Bliss)
The former Italian footballer who has been a connotation of loyalty recently wrote in his autobiography “Un Capitano” about the time when he almost joined the Spanish club Real Madrid.
Francisco Totti was approached by the Real Madrid president twice, in 2001 and 2004. Of course, the deal never took place but it came quite close. As the former AS Roma captain states in his book that when he was approached for the first time he denied it by asking if it is a joke.
In 2004, however, things were a bit different. The Italian forward only had 1 year left on his contract. This prompted for Totti to be thinking about his future and Florentino Perez also did his bit to lure the footballer.
The Real Madrid president offered him a number 10 jersey which would have been vacated by the sale of Luis Figo. Along with that, he would have been the highest paid footballer on the planet as Perez offered him 12 million euros net + 15 million in image rights, he was also ready to pay around 70 million for the transfer fee.
Totti who was only earning 5.8 million euros net was also lured by the Real Madrid players. Likes of David Beckham and Zinedine Zidane told him after a match on 28th September 2004 that:
“We know we will soon be teammates.”
In his book, Totti revealed all this and expressed his opinion on the chain of events in his own words. Eventually, his love for AS Roma overpowered everything else and then it was an easier decision to reject the Los Blancos.
“Crazy, I would have been the best paid in the world, and Madrid was selling to Figo to free the shirt with the 10 that Florentino promised me. But I cannot betray my people. I will not go to Madrid, it’s not my story, my story is Rome.”
In 2016, Francisco Totti returned to Bernabeu for one last time as a Roma player. He was welcomed with a standing ovation by the Real Madrid supporters but the affection wasn’t just limited to the fans. Florentino Perez also expressed his love for the Italian and said:
“Look at him, this is the only footballer who said ‘no’ to me.”
Even the Real Madrid players such as Marcelo Vierro and Sergio Ramos exchanged shirts with the Italian legend that day and displayed their respect to the fullest. This was a gesture which cozied the heart of the Totti who described the moment as:
“I give the shirts to the stars of that fantastic team. My pride multiplies when I see their joy in receiving them.”
One particular exchange of shirts took place with between the club captains Sergio Ramos and Francisco Totti where the Italian legend is bound to imagine what could have been in a parallel universe.
“He (Sergio Ramos) plays in Madrid since 2005, the year I was about to arrive too. In some parallel universe, I must have been your captain…”
This has been the best time to recall all the details as today Real Madrid visit Olympiacos to face AS Roma in the UEFA Champions League group stage match. The kick-off is scheduled for 19:45 CET. The match will be telecasted all over the world via the official broadcasting partners.