Francesco Totti's explanation for staying with Roma for almost 25 years will make you respect him even more
In March 1993, Francesco Totti made his first senior appearance for AS Roma. 23 years later, he is still going strong.
The 39-year-old has slowed down the last few years but the veteran playmaker still embodies so much that is great about football - like an outfield version of compatriot Gianlugi Buffon.
Totti has spent his entire senior career with one club, a refreshing outlier in a world where even the most seemingly loyal footballers regularly change clubs when offered a slightly better wage.
The Italian World Cup-winner has no doubt been well compensated throughout his career in the Italian capital but as the King of Rome explains in an interview with Gazzetta World, his career choices were made with the heart.
Totti speaks so passionately about remaining a one club man that you can't help but admire him even more.
"Maybe that's the difference between me and everybody else," he tells the Italian publication.
"There aren’t many athletes who follow their hearts. They choose to go somewhere to win more and earn more money. They’re like gypsies.
"If I thought only about the money and the finances, I would have changed teams 10 years ago. I’d earn more in respect to what I make now with Roma. For me it’s another choice, one of passion, not money.
"I’ve always loved these colours and I’ve always desired to wear only this jersey. For me, this is an ideal marriage."