AS Roma legend Francesco Totti celebrates his 20th year in Serie A on Thursday. To put that in perspective, fellow club legend and Rome native Daniele De Rossi was nine years old when Totti made his top-flight debut on March 28th 1993 at Brescia. Stephan El Shaarawy, meanwhile, was exactly five months old.
As you can see above, the man widely considered Roma's greatest player of all time may not have mastered English in his 36 years (he should probably work on the way he asks for a "large Coke" or he may get something he's not expecting), but he has commanded the respect of his peers and rivals alike.
To commemorate 20 years of loyal service with the Giallorossi, Juventus goalkeeper and former Italy national team colleague Gigi Buffon has written Totti a heartfelt congratulatory letter. Football Italia has the translation:
Dear Francesco, you have made Italian football history.
Twenty years in Serie A, what an achievement… I still have the image of your first goal in my mind, it was a Roma-Foggia tie.
We’re friends, you know how much I care about you. We started together with the Under-15 side, we had some splendid years together in the national team and we continue to meet as opponents in Serie A.
You often score against me (10 times to be precise, that’s how many goals you have netted) like a champion who has forgotten our friendship…
Then, at the final whistle, there are smiles between us again, like when I saved a penalty that I feared you would chip – it saddened me that was you.
We are from a fortunate generation. It’s true that every season after the age of 30 is worth seven, but you seem to go back in time instead of ageing.
You’ve written the history of Italian football, with the present and the future – you are a player who can not be doubted.
And, for me, you’ll always be an Azzurro. An embrace from your friend, Gigi.
It's a lovely sentiment from Buffon, and his theory about all seasons after the age of 30 being worth seven is intriguing — apparently it works like dog years after that milestone. Using that logic, this is actually Totti's 56th Serie A season!
The Roma captain's most recent goal against Buffon will be fresh in the goalkeeper's memory, as it was a golazo during their last meeting at the Stadio Olimpico in February. Let's take a look-see...