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Mon Apr 21 06:37:27 SAST 2014

Totti admits to Enrique tension at Roma

Sapa-AFP | 13 October, 2011 16:520 Comments
AS Roma v Atalanta BC  - Serie A
Francesco Totti (R) Of AS Roma argues with his coach Luis Enrique during the Serie A match between Roma and Atalanta at Stadio Olimpico on October 1, 2011 in Rome, Italy
Image by: Paolo Bruno / Getty Images

Roma captain Francesco Totti admitted on Thursday that his relationship with club coach Luis Enrique started out badly, although he says the pair have now patched up their differences.

Totti was widely rumoured to have been at loggerheads with Spaniard Enrique soon after the former Barcelona youth team coach took over at Roma.

Enrique left Totti on the bench for the first leg of Roma’s Europa League qualifying tie against Slovan Bratislava and then substituted the emblematic captain during the second leg.

Roma were knocked out by the Slovak minnows and Totti made no attempt to hide his frustrations at the time.

The spat led to Enrique being jeered by the club’s fans and local reporters speculating that he was in line for the sack, before the new Serie A season had even begun.

And although Totti admits they got off on the wrong foot he says  all has now been resolved.

“I get on well with Luis Enrique, at first things didn’t go well  but now we have a good relationship,” said Totti.

“Maybe at the beginning we didn’t understand each other, I don’t know why. I didn’t understand what I was doing wrong at that time.

“It was said that I was at the centre of the project but then I found myself on the bench.

“Either I didn’t understand or I was being made fun of. Then I had a chat with the coach and things were ironed out.”   

And just to demonstrate his point that all is well with Enrique,  Totti compared the Spaniard to a couple of popular recent Roma coaches, Zdenek Zeman and Luciano Spalletti.

“I’d compare him to Spalletti and Zeman for his attacking style because he thinks more about making his team play than he does about the opposition, and training sessions are hard.”   

Totti also expressed his desire to keep playing for another five  years, despite many already believing he is slowing down now at 35.

“I want to play until I’m 40 because I’m enjoying it, football has given me everything and if I’m fit, I want to continue,” he said.

“When I see that I can’t do it any more, I’ll throw in the towel, but right now I’m not thinking about that.

“I want to play, I’m not thinking about my future as a director,  I have another five year contract in management but whether they put me in the porter’s lodge or in another place, I don’t know.

“I haven’t spoken about it with the Americans (Roma’s new owners) because right now I’m thinking only about playing.

“There was the possibility of going to (Los Angeles) Galaxy but nothing happened.”   

As for Sunday night’s derby against Lazio, Totti confirmed he won’t play as he’s not fit but said he hopes to be back a week later to play Palermo.

Roma and Lazio are level on points in sixth and seventh and whoever wins could move into the top four.

But Totti believes it is too early to pay any attention to the standings, particularly with both Milan clubs hovering just above the relegation zone.

“It’s very close in the league, no team has gone out fast. But the championship is very long.

“Right now anyone could win it but in 10 or 15 games we all know  which teams will be contenders for the title.”   

Totti also had a kind word to say about Inter Milan boss and former Roma coach Claudio Ranieri, who was rumoured to have been forced out of the capital by Totti.

“I’m happy for him, he’s found another team, a great team, and knowing him he could do very well.

“I hope not this year but I do wish him luck.” 

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