AS Roma, Italian Serie A, Leagues, Story

Francesco Totti has become a Roma director after retiring from playing.

Francesco Totti backed Napoli to win the Serie A title as he received the Exceptional Achievement Award at the 2018 Laureus World Sports Awards ceremony in Monaco on Tuesday.

Totti, 41, became only the third recipient of the prize after U.S. swimmer Michael Phelps and Chinese tennis player Li Na.

And speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, the former striker said he would be happy to see new Serie A champions after Juventus won the last six titles in succession.

“It would be better if Napoli won it,” he said. “Otherwise it would all just become monotonous with Juve.”

Totti became a Roma director after retiring as a player last summer after 25 years at the club, and said he was struggling to adjust to his new role.

“I’m scared of life,” he said. “I’m scared of the future. I’m missing all the simple things, like lacing up my boots, playing in games, the rituals in the dressing room, the dinners with my teammates — all things which were my life in these years.”

Totti remains a Roma fan and said he was convinced they would finish in the top four this season despite slipping behind Lazio and Inter Milan following defeat to AC Milan at the weekend.

“I’m not concerned because I believe in [coach Eusebio] Di Francesco and I think he’s going to make this team great,” he said.

“We had three wins in a row in the league and then there was a bit of a stumble in the Champions League followed by the ugly defeat to Milan, but it’s not such a critical situation.

“There’s only one remedy for it and that’s to be united and move on, pursuing a common goal, which is to go as far as possible in the Champions League and in Serie A.

“But the most important thing is we keep all the external rumours out and ensure the team, club and coach stick together.”

Roma lost 2-1 at Shakhtar Donetsk in the first leg of their round-of-16 Champions League clash, and Totti said he had been surprised by their struggles in the second half.

“I couldn’t have imagined it being so bad after the first half we played in Ukraine, but we’ve got all that it takes to turn the tie around and earn our place in the next round,” he added.

Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for ESPN FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.

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