Cryptic Totti message leaves fans guessing

Francesco Totti (Getty Images)
Francesco Totti (Getty Images)

Ortisei - Roma icon Francesco Totti on Thursday left fans guessing over his impending retirement after declaring he is ready to embrace a "new challenge" after playing his final game with the Serie A club on Sunday.

Totti, 40, confirmed earlier this month that this season, his 25th with the capital club, would would be his last as a player ahead of taking up a management role alongside Spanish sporting director Monchi.

Tickets for Totti's final game, at home to Genoa, sold out last week in a matter of hours.

But a day after inviting the entire Roma squad to dinner, the 'Re di Roma' (King of Rome) -- as Totti has been affectionately known -- posted a cryptic message which left fans and teammates alike guessing.

"Roma-Genoa, Sunday May 28 2017, the last time I'll be wearing the Roma shirt. It's impossible to express in so few words everything these colours represent, have represented for me and will represent to me. Forever," said Totti.

"It's just that my love for football hasn't waned: it's a passion, my passion. It goes so deep that I can't imagine not feeding my passion. Ever.

"From Monday I'm ready for a fresh start. I'm ready for a new challenge."

In a 25-year career with Roma, one-club man Totti has won one Serie A title, in 2001, and finished runner-up eight times.

Although limited to a series of substitute appearances under Roma coach Luciano Spalletti this season, Totti was recently linked with a move to second division American club Miami FC, which is coached by Totti's friend and former Italy teammate Alessandro Nesta.

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