Martedì, 23 Ottobre 2018

Soccer: Totti reaches Nordahl mark, only Piola left


Rome, March 4 - AS Roma captain Francesco Totti has
cemented his status as one of the greatest players ever to grace
the Italian top flight, by becoming Serie A second-top scorer of
all time.
The former Italy forward converted a penalty in Sunday's
3-1 win over Genoa to take his league tally up to 225, equalling
the number notched by Swedish great Gunnar Nordahl for AC Milan
and Roma in the 1940s and 50s.
The only person ahead of the 36-year-old now is Silvio
Piola, who scored 274 goals for Pro Vercelli, Lazio, Juventus
and Novara between 1929 and 1954.
"Francesco Totti is a world class player and like all world
class players, he has unimaginable resources," said Russia coach
Fabio Capello, who was in charge of Roma and Totti when the club
won their third Italian title in the 2000-01 season.
"As his age increases, so does his guile and intelligence
which, along with his enormous technical skills, has taken him
to the levels he is playing at".
Capello added that his thinks Totti, who has scored 10
Serie A goals this season, can keep performing at this high
level for at least two more years.
Unlike Piola and many of the big names he has surpassed in
the scorers' ranking, such as Giuseppe Meazza, Jose' Altafini
(both 216) and Roberto Baggio (205), Totti has netted all of his
for one club.
The born-and-bred Roman made his top-flight debut for the
team he supported as a boy aged 16 in a 2-0 win at Brescia in
1993 and scored his first league goal the year after in a 1-1
draw against Foggia.
For one of Italian football's finest talents of recent
times, he has relatively few big club titles to his name, the
2001 scudetto and the 2007 and 2008 Italian Cup.
He has accepted that as the price of his loyalty to Roma,
after refusing to succumb to the lure of bigger clubs.
He also sacrificed his Azzurri career for Roma, retiring
from international football after being part of the 2006 World
Cup-winning campaign, saying his body was no longer up to
playing for both club and country.
He has scored 98 of the goals in open play with his sweet
right foot, 35 with his left, 19 from free-kicks, 61 from the
penalty spot and 12 with his head.
But Totti is much more than a goal machine.
He is also a playmaker who sets up chances for his
teammates, as shown by the assists he laid on for the
18-year-old debutant Alessio Romagnoli and veteran midfielder
Simone Perrotta in the win over Genoa.
"When I reach Piola I'll quit," said Totti, who has said he
wants to keep playing until he is 40.
As well as being a fine footballer, Totti is also one of
the country's best-loved personalities.
He is Italy's nearest equivalent to a David Beckham-style
star, with his blue-eyed good looks and beautiful TV presenter
wife, Ilary Blasi.
He has a dry, typically Roman wit in radio interviews and
has shown skills as a comic actor in TV commercials with Blasi
for Vodafone.
He is a committed family man too.
His distinctive thumb-sucking goal celebration comes from
when Blasi gave birth to the couple's first child.
And the most touching moment of him reaching Nordahl's
milestone was when his children, a boy and a girl, ran on the
pitch at the end of the match to celebrate, bringing their dad
to tears.
"It was unexpected," said Totti. "I didn't think they were
coming because they had been ill all week.
"It was the most wonderful surprise.
"Now I'm heading towards Piola. I know it will be very hard
(to catch him) and that, if I were to stop next year, it would
be impossible. But we'll see at the end".

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