Francesco Totti has confirmed his retirement as a player by accepting a directorship role with Roma.
The 40-year-old Roman, who represented the Giallorossi for 24 years as a striker, played his last game for the Serie A club in May but his status since had been uncertain as he fielded offers.
In an interview published on Roma’s official website on Monday evening, Totti admitted his illustrious on-pitch career was a thing of the past and that a new life in football management awaited him.
He said: “The end of my playing career was May 28, 2017. That for me was an historic day.
“I’ll carry it with me forever. It will be hard to explain to people the feelings and emotions I felt that day.
“The first part of my life, as a player, has ended but now I’m heading into an equally important part as a manager, hoping to do as well as I did on the field.”
Totti made his debut as a 16-year-old in 1993 and won the Scudetto once, in 2001. His 786th and final appearance for Roma was as a substitute in a 3-2 league win over Genoa at the Olimpico.
Continuate a chiamarmi Francesco. Come sempre. pic.twitter.com/yusuvaClXA— Francesco Totti (@Totti) July 17, 2017
He was reportedly close to making a swansong switch to China or Major League Soccer but has instead hung up his boots.
“I never wanted that game to end, that day to end,” said Totti, who is Roma’s all-time leading goalscorer with 307 in all competitions.
“For me it was too important, too significant, too exciting. “The game has given me so much and I tried to give so much back to the people who have showed me so much love day after day.
“Now I’ll try to make myself available at all 360 degrees, from the youth team to the president. It might take six months, a year, two years… I don’t know how long it will take to find the role I prefer.”
Everton’s busy transfer window shows no signs of letting up after they announced the signing of defender Cuco Martina from Southampton on a free transfer on Monday.
The 27-year-old has signed a three-year-deal at Goodison Park and again links up with manager Ronald Koeman, who coached him at the south-coast club.
Netherlands-born Martina, who captains Curacao at international level, becomes the Toffees’ seventh summer signing, joining Wayne Rooney, Sandro Ramirez, Henry Onyekuru, Davy Klaassen, Jordan Pickford and Michael Keane at the Premier League club.
Martina, who played 36 times for Southampton after arriving at the club from FC Twente in 2015, cited Everton’s ambition as the main reason for signing.
“Everton is a big club with big ambitions and I’m really looking forward to joining this group of players and the manager as we try to step forward next season,” Martina told the club website.
“Obviously, I know the manager from my time at Southampton, so I know what he wants and he knows what I can do.”
Everton boss Koeman said that Martina’s versatility was a big factor in making a move for the former Feyenoord youth player.
“Cuco Martina is an experienced player who can perform in different positions at the back, which is important,” Koeman said.
“I brought the player to Southampton, so I know what he can do for us here and this is why I’ve now brought him to Everton. He is a player who will strengthen our squad and be able to play in different positions when that’s needed, too.”
Martina has 30 international caps for the Caribbean former Dutch colony of Curacao, who were knocked out of the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Sunday.
West Brom have strengthened their defensive options with the signing of Egypt international Ahmed Hegazi.
Albion have been tracking the 26-year-old centre-half since his performances caught their eye during the African Nations Cup at the start of the year.
Hegazi has moved to the Hawthorns on a year-long loan but West Brom have the option to make it a permanent deal.
“We’re pleased he’s here, he’s a good addition. He’s got good pedigree and has played for some good clubs. Hopefully he’ll be a good signing for us,” Baggies boss Tony Pulis told the club’s official website.
“With it being a loan and, if he does well, we’ve already agreed a final deal. It’s really, really good for us.”
Hegazi has flown out to Hong Kong to link up with the West Brom squad ahead of their Premier League Asia Trophy game with Premier League rivals Leicester on Wednesday, although he will need international clearance to play in the tournament.
The Egyptian spent time with Italian club Fiorentina earlier in his career, only for injuries to hamper his progress. He returned to his homeland with Al Ahly, where he has spent the last two seasons.