He added: “However, my heart and love won out. I couldn’t betray the city and the fans. If a big European or American club had come in – and it’s no secret one of my dreams is to go to America for a lifestyle and football experience – I probably wouldn’t be here today.”
With the captain’s armband now bestowed upon him as his career moves closer to its end, many are hopeful he will accept a send-off not too dissimilar from Totti’s, but the 34-year-old admits he is unlikely to follow the same path as he is desperate to experience a professional life away from Roma before he hangs up his boots.
“I always thought it’d be great if I could, with all due respect and the correct proportions, experience a day like the one Totti had on May 28 when he retired. It would be wonderful to experience such an intense salute with the fans,” he added.
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“At the same time, I do feel the strong desire to have an experience elsewhere. Frankly, 16 years at Roma is like 32 elsewhere, because they really weigh on you. I am physically having the best seasons of my career, but the pressure is often excessive.”