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End in sight for Totti ahead of crunch Roma talks

18 April 2016, 22:06

Milan - Italian football icon Francesco Totti is set for crunch talks amid signs Roma are ready to let the 39-year-old playmaker walk out of the club he has served faithfully for his entire 23-year career.

A late cameo appearance on Sunday saw Totti score his 245th goal in Serie A, his 301st for Roma, to secure a 3-3 draw at Atalanta.

The goal maintained Roma's push to snatch the league's second automatic Champions League spot from Napoli, who sit in second place with a five-point cushion and five games to play.

But Roma sporting director Walter Sabatini said Totti's 86th-minute strike changed "nothing" as far as ongoing talks about his future are concerned.

Also read: Bayern wary of 'monsters of passion' Atletico

Totti's wish for an extra year's deal at Roma has fallen on deaf ears, with the club's American president, James Pallotta, reportedly keen to see him join the board or take up an ambassador's role.

But in an interview with Il Messaggero newspaper, Sabatini indicated Totti's ongoing contribution to the team will not sway Pallotta.

"The president has given his point of view, there will be a decisive meeting and then we'll see what happens," said Sabatini.

"We're grateful to Totti for what he has done and what he continues to do at the club."

Referring to Totti's goal on Sunday, Sabatini added: "I don't think it will change things, but we still have to give credit to the player and to the coach for letting him play."

Italy's leading sports daily, La Gazzetta dello Sport, said both Totti and striker Edin Dzeko are set to leave the club this summer.

While Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi is Serie A's highest-paid player on a reported annual salary of 6.5 million euros ($7.3 million), misfiring striker Dzeko earns 4.5m and Totti 2.5m.

Although some fans won't be unhappy to see Dzeko leave after seeing him score only eight times in 28 league appearances, Totti's departure would spell the end of an era.

For the player heralded as 'Il Re di Roma' (The King of Rome) and who is still adored by the fans, an unceremonious departure awaits following a series of rows with coach Luciano Spalletti.

Spalletti and Totti were famously close during the coach's previous spell at the club in 2005-2009, during which Totti lifted the Italian Cup twice in succession in 2007 and 2008 the latter Roma's last piece of silverware and the Italian Super Cup (2007).

When Spalletti quit Roma before moving to the Russian Premier League, Totti even left a heartfelt message on the club's website: "Thanks for everything Luciano, I would have liked to finish my career with you."

Although Totti's wish may ultimately come true, Spalletti's second spell at the club has produced less amity between the pair.

Spalletti did not take kindly to Totti complaining in a television interview last February that he deserved to be playing more and shown more respect by the club.

The Italian reacted by claiming Totti would be given no special treatment and on Sunday the 57-year-old stuck the boot in further when he refused to credit Totti for Roma's draw in Bergamo.

Indeed, amid reports of a post-match clash, Spalletti suggested the undercurrents at the club were far more relevant than Totti's goal.

"The goal that Totti scored, he could score one like that in three years' time, but it's the other things going on that haven't yet come to light.

"Maybe if you (media) worked a little bit harder (on it), you would find out."



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