Francesco Totti terrified teammates with penalty and rejected a big-money move to AC Milan aged 12, Roma legend was so loved that monks got pictures with him and prisoner had sentence extended to meet him

    Andrea Pirlo is often credited with sending Joe Hart back to Shrewsbury with a stunning Panenka penalty in Euro 2012.

    But as great as the former AC Milan and Juventus man was, he’s not the first Italian to successfully do this in a penalty shootout at a European Championship.

    Totti showed balls of steel years before Pirlo stepped up

    Getty

    Totti showed balls of steel years before Pirlo stepped up

    This was still an iconic moment in European Championship history

    getty

    This was still an iconic moment in European Championship history

    Francesco Totti perfectly executed his ‘spoon’ spot-kick as Italy knocked co-host nation the Netherlands out of the competition 12 years earlier.

    He showed an incredible calmness in such a high-pressure situation but this was something he had planned in advance. It did nothing to calm his teammates down though.

    Alessandro Nesta revealed Totti beat him on the Playstation during the tournament, scoring a goal with a Panenka and vowed to do it in real life.

    Luigi Di Biagio put the Italians 2-0 up in the shootout and as he returned Totti declared: “Now I will do the spoon!”

    “Is he crazy?” wondered captain Paolo Maldini. “There is a final on the line.”

    Totti made Van der Sar, who was a very accomplished keeper, look rather silly

    Getty

    Totti made Van der Sar, who was a very accomplished keeper, look rather silly

    And Totti certainly enjoyed the penalty

    Getty

    And Totti certainly enjoyed the penalty

    Maldini need not have worried as Totti calmly dinked his penalty home with Edwin van der Sar going the wrong way.

    Totti later said: “To take a penalty like that you must be crazy or very good and I don’t think I’m crazy.”

    Few would have ice in their veins to that extent but Totti is used to chaos.

    A year before joining home club Roma aged 13, AC Milan sent an offer of 300million lira (approximately £132,000) to his club at the time, AS Lodigiani.

    There were high hopes for Totti, who made his Roma first-team debut aged 16

    Getty

    There were high hopes for Totti, who made his Roma first-team debut aged 16

    Milan were Italy’s biggest club at the time and Totti admits he probably would have gone but his mum had other ideas.

    He told Roma’s official website: “On that occasion it was my family who said no. My mother especially. She’s pretty old school: apprehensive and possessive.

    “My dad used to work till late so she was the one who looked after me most of the time. She didn’t want me to move away – she wanted me all for herself.”

    Instead, a life as a one-club man awaited him as he made his debut at the age of 16 on 28 March, 1993. Totti says he later rejected the chance to sign Real Madrid during the 2003/04 season.

    Francesco Totti (Roma to Real Madrid, 2003) – click the right arrow, above, to see the rest of the gallery

    getty

    Totti favoured the option of becoming a Roma legend instead

    A move to the Bernabeu would have no doubt got him more trophies – Totti only won one Serie A and two Coppa Italias and Suppercoppa Italianas.

    It would also have been the perfect opportunity to get away from the Totti mania that greeted him every day in Italy’s capital, which reached its peak after they won the Scudetto in 2001. Even those devoted to God wanted a piece of him…

    He said: “I was having dinner in a restaurant with my family and friends when we heard this roar from a crowd. Word had got out that I was there.

    “I went to look outside and there were 5,000 people in the streets and they wanted to come in.

    Totti scored in Roma’s final game of the season which confirmed them as Italian champions

    AFP

    Totti scored in Roma’s final game of the season which confirmed them as Italian champions

    It unsurprisingly sparked many celebrations across the city

    Getty

    It unsurprisingly sparked many celebrations across the city

    “The owner told me there was no other exit so the only way out was to climb over the railings and escape up the top towards the convent. Three or four friends and I climbed up the slope between the plants in the dark.

    “As soon as I jumped down the other side I thought, ‘If there’s a guard dog here he’s going to have us for dinner.’

    “Instead, a guy with a torch came over – it was a monk. He shone it on my face and said, ‘You’re Totti!’ He wanted my autograph before he’d let us out.”

    One man even extended his own prison sentence to see Totti up close and personal.

    Totti was adored by Roma fans and some went to extreme lengths to see him

    Getty

    Totti was adored by Roma fans and some went to extreme lengths to see him

    Totti is Roma and Italy legend and an icon of football

    getty

    Totti is Roma and Italy legend and an icon of football

    On visiting Rebibbia prison as a player, he told Football Italia: “We went around the cells and there were inmates who supported every team.

    “There were Roma and Lazio players, and they were all very happy because for them it was like seeing the Pope.

    “There was a table for us to sign autographs and this lad was screaming and gesticulating. At a certain point he began to try to push his way forward.

    “He wanted a photo with me, but I couldn’t understand why he was so determined.

    “I learned that he was due for release the week before, but he’d asked for permission to stay because he knew I was coming.

    “He told them: ‘If you make me leave, I will do something crazy to be sent back here!’”

    Roma fans have a new special presence around now in manager Jose Mourinho. But for once the Portuguese will have to settle for second as the club’s main man, no matter what he does at the Stadio Olimpico.


    MORE talkSPORT HEROES

    Mancini stopped Maradona, wanted to fight like ‘kickboxer’, and was ‘hated’ by Zola

    Adriano was Ronaldo’s heir but alcohol and tragedy stopped him being a great

    Dani destroyed United and Liverpool legends, won title at Ajax but failed at West Ham

    Salas stopped Juve signing Ronaldo and made Sir Alex go on 14,000-mile scout trip

    Source

    Previous articleKalidou Koulibaly sends message to Graham Potter after getting dropped by new Chelsea boss
    Next articleSidemen FC team: Who is playing against the YouTube All stars in the HUGE charity match?