Tearful Totti bids farewell as Roma finish second
ROME—Diego Perotti scored a last-gasp equaliser as Rome beat Genoa 3-2 to secure second spot in the Serie A and a guaranteed place in next year’s UEFA Champions League group stages. However, the occasion was all about Roma legend Francesco Totti, who came on as a second-half substitute in his final appearance in a Roma shirt.
The 40-year-old former Roma captain was noticeably moved at the end of the game as he read a letter to the packed-out crowd at the Stadio Olimpico.
“I’m afraid I can’t see what the future looks like,” said Totti, holding back the tears.
“Imagine you’re a child having a good dream… and your mother wakes you up for school, you want to keep dreaming, you try and slip back into the dream but you never can.”
“This time, it’s not a dream, but reality. And I can no longer slip back in.”
Fortunately for Roma, the 3-2 victory means that they finished above Napoli, who will have to take their chances in the Champions League play-offs if they are to join the Giallorossi in the group stages of the competition.
It looked as though the Totti party may be spoiled when Genoa youngster, Pietro Pellegri, opened the scoring for the visitors after just three minutes of play. The Italian striker Pellegri became the first player born in 2001 to score a Serie A goal.
Roma responded soon after with Bosnian Edin Dzeko levelling the scores on 10 minutes, bringing his tally for the season to an impressive 29, enough to equal the club record number of league goals in a season and take home the coveted Serie A Capocannoniere golden boot.
In the second half the atmosphere at the Stadio Olimpico lifted, the Roma fans buoyed by the appearance of Totti, who replaced Mohammad Salah on 54 minutes to a standing ovation.
Daniele de Rossi then put the home side ahead, but the celebrations were short lived as Darko Lazovic headed in a late equaliser for Genoa.
Disaster was avoided when a last-ditched winner from Diego Perotti sent the Roma fans into raptures, as ‘Totti Day’ ended in a 3-2 victory for the Giallorossi.
Totti is expected to take up a role as director at the club but there is growing speculation in Italy that he could go on to play abroad.
Elsewhere in Serie A, Napoli put the pressure on Roma by beating Sampdoria 4-2 to finish third.
Champions Juventus finished their season in style in a 2-1 win over Bologna.
Crotone completed their great escape by beating Lazio 3-1 to avoid relegation, as a 2-1 defeat for Empoli in Palermo means they will be competing in Serie B next year.
Inter Milan thrased Udinese 5-2, whilst rivals A.C Milan lost 2-1 to Cagliari.
There were also wins for Torino and Atalanta against Sassulo and Chievo respectively, but Fiorentina could only muster a 2-2 draw against bottom of the table Pescara.