Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Totti leaves door open for Italy recall
(Reuters) - Francesco Totti has found a new lease of life at the age of 36 and the AS Roma striker is refusing to rule out a return to the Italy side.
Totti last played for the Azzurri when they lifted the World Cup in 2006 but was close to ending his international retirement for the 2010 tournament before injuries and a loss of form cost him a place.
He is back enjoying a purple patch, crowning a superb performance in a 2-0 win over Parma on Sunday with a low free kick in the 70th minute to become Serie A's second highest scorer with 226 goals.
Italy coach Cesare Prandelli said on Monday that he would be "obliged" to consider Totti for the 2014 Brazil World Cup if he continues his current form.
"Prandelli's words pleased me a lot," one-club man Totti told reporters on Tuesday.
"I don't know, at the moment I'm doing fine. But from here until 2014, let's see. It could be that in a year I quit. Who knows? When Prandelli calls me up let's see."
Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, whose side face Brazil in a friendly in Geneva on Thursday before visiting Malta for a World Cup qualifier on Tuesday, backed a recall for Totti.
"He is still one of us even today," Buffon said.
"For a player with that talent, that character and that class who continues to play at a formidable level like Francesco is doing this year, it is right that the coach does not want to discount anything."
Such has been the quality of Totti's recent displays for Roma that the Italian capital has been awash with graffiti displaying the forward as the other favourite "Francesco" of the moment in Rome - the new Pope Francis.
(Writing by Mark Meadows, editing by Ed Osmond)