Former footballer Francesco Totti says leaving Roma after spending 30 years at the club feels "like dying".

The World Cup winner, who spent his entire professional career at Roma, retired from playing in July 2017 and has now reluctantly resigned from his role as a director.

BBC Sport reported that Totti's relationship with club president James Pallotta had deteriorated in recent weeks even after the former star was offered the role of technical director.

"I resign as a Roma executive," the Italian former forward said at a press conference. "I was hoping that this day never came, instead this ugly and heavy day has arrived.

Advertisement

"I never had the chance to work on the technical area with Roma.

"This is far worse than retiring as a player. Leaving Roma is like dying. I feel like it'd be better if I died."

Francesco Totti during a press conference to announce his retirement as manager of the team. Photo / Getty
Francesco Totti during a press conference to announce his retirement as manager of the team. Photo / Getty

Totti criticised the club's American ownership saying he was left out of decisions about the hiring and firing of coaches, and moves in the player transfer market.

"I never had the chance to express myself. They never involved me," Totti said. "The first year that can happen but by the second (year) I understood what they wanted to do. ... They knew of my desire to offer a lot to this squad but they never wanted it. They kept me out of everything."

After playing 25 seasons with his hometown club and leading the club to its last Serie A title in 2001, the 42-year-old Totti remains Roma's most emblematic figure.

"Presidents come and go, coaches come and go, players come and go. But not emblems," Totti said.

Totti's departure comes a month after then-captain Daniele De Rossi announced he, too, was leaving Roma after the club surprisingly decided not to renew his contract.

Totti said Romans were being pushed out of Roma since Pallotta and some fellow Boston executives purchased the club in 2011 — becoming the first foreign majority owners in Serie A.

Advertisement

"For eight years here, since the Americans came, they've done everything they could to sweep us aside," Totti said.

Pallotta runs the club from Boston and has not been to Rome in more than a year, and Totti said that was problematic.

"When the boss isn't around everyone does whatever they feel like," Totti said. "That's the case anywhere."

Pallotta said last week in a long interview published on Roma's website that he had offered Totti the role of technical director.

Francesco Totti during La Notte del Maesto the last match of Andrea Pirlo. Photo / Getty
Francesco Totti during La Notte del Maesto the last match of Andrea Pirlo. Photo / Getty

"This is a very important role at the club, easily one of the most important and influential roles in our football operations, and the fact that we want him to take on the role says everything about what we think of Francesco," Pallotta said.

"I don't know what is being said and by whom, because I've given up reading most of the media, but I believe Francesco already has great influence on our decision making."

While Paulo Fonseca was hired from Shakhtar Donetsk last week as Roma's new coach, Totti deflected reports that he had preferred Gennaro Gattuso or Sinisa Mihajlovic for the job.

"The only coach I called was Antonio Conte," Totti said, referring to the new Inter Milan coach.

Roma is coming off one of its worst seasons in years, with a sixth-place finish in Serie A meaning it missed out on the lucrative Champions League.

A year after reaching the semifinals, Roma was eliminated from the Champions League by Porto in the first knockout stage.

Roma has also been struggling to build a new stadium.

Pallotta first presented a plan for a new stadium in March 2014, saying that it would be ready for the 2016-17 season — yet construction has still not started because of a series of bureaucratic delays.

Asked what it would take for him to return to Roma, Totti replied: "First of all, different ownership."

Totti also confirmed long-held speculation that the club forced him to retire from playing before he wanted to, and added that he had a six-year contract within management.

"There were a lot of promises made," he said. "But in the end they weren't kept."