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Francesco Totti Leaves the Field, and Romans Weep for a Living Monument

The club members then waved disgustedly at the screen and Totti shook his head on the field after Genoa tied the match at 2-2. Then Roma scored the winning goal. With only minutes left, Totti kept control of the ball, eating up the clock by kicking the ball off the shins of his opponents and out of bounds.

“He’s a maestro at this,” the television commentator said.

After the game, Totti took a victory lap around the stadium accompanied by his wife and children, including his son, Cristian, 11, who many hope might carry his father’s torch.

As the theme from “Gladiator” gave way to Elton John’s “Circle of Life,” Totti started weeping. Bawling. So did the members of the Roma Club, old and young, men and women. They sang the chorus of the team song — “Roma Roma Roma” — and wept. They held their children and wept. They screamed “mortacci loro” and wept. One man, wearing a “There’s Only One Captain” shirt, wrote his son at the stadium and asked for an update.

“Weeping,” his son’s reply read.

As Totti read out a letter (“It’s not easy to switch off the light. Now I am afraid.”) the faces of thousands of fans contorted with tearful anguish. In the club, Mr. Rosi started pouring white wine with an A.S. Roma label. “I feel awful, awful,” he said, from behind a small plaque that referred to Totti as the “King of Rome.” “Now we will realize it. That he is gone.”

But not just yet. A couple of hours later, Totti and his family arrived at La Villetta, a favorite restaurant. There was a barrage of kisses from loved ones, several of whom said they had spent the game in tears.

As homeless men made their beds on the sidewalk in front of Totti’s old haunt, a handful of fans in No. 10 jerseys peered through the windows. Like them, Totti still wore shorts, but he had traded in his jersey for a red polo shirt.

Source: NYT > World

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