Francesco Totti says that leaving Roma ‘is like dying’ as the club’s legendary former captain announced he is leaving his role as technical director.
The 42-year-old addressed the media on Monday afternoon in an 85-minute press conference where he explained why he had decided to bring to an end his 30-year relationship with the club.
Totti said it was a day he ‘hoped never would have come’ but in the end he made the decision having become marginalised behind the scenes by president James Pallotta.
A large media contingent gathered to hear from an emotional Totti as he explained the issues he faced behind the scenes.
‘I sent an email to say something that felt unimaginable. I wrote my resignation. I was hoping this was not necessary, but the fateful day has arrived, which for me is very ugly and painful,’ he said.
‘Considering the conditions, it was only right that I made this brusque decision, especially as I never had the chance to work on the technical area with Roma.
‘I thought long and hard. Let’s just say it was not my fault that I had to make this decision.
‘They knew my intentions and what I wanted, to give so much to this club and team, but they never wanted me to, in all honesty. They excluded me from every decision.’
Totti retired from playing two years ago after 25 seasons with his hometown club and was given the chance to have a management role in the boardroom.
He led Roma to its last Serie A title in 2001 but has now brought to an end his time with the club.
Making his senior debut in 1993 as a teenager, Totti went on to score 307 goals in 785 games for the club, establishing himself as a Roma legend.
Speaking openly about his departure, Totti explained how club bosses made him retire and also dictated how his role would have little to no influence on the football side of operations.
He added: ‘Everyone knows they made me stop playing. They wanted me to stop. I had a six-year contract already as a director.
‘I started quietly, realising it’s a completely different sphere to being on the field.
‘Many promises were made and they were never kept. They knew what I wanted.
Former Shakhtar Donestk manager Paulo Fonseca has taken charge and will be tasked with restoring the club to the top table in Italy after a difficult time of it in recent seasons.