UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin has paid tribute to Francesco Totti for “a fantastic career”, praising the former Italian international for his “extraordinary loyalty and dedication” to home-town team Roma.
Totti, 40, made his 786th and last appearance for his only club when he stepped off the bench in their final game of the Serie A season against Genoa on Sunday. The No10’s farewell outing in front his adoring supporters at the Stadio Olimpico came 24 years and two months after his debut for the Giallorossi in March 1993.
“The President’s Award recognises outstanding achievements, professional excellence and exemplary personal qualities,” said Mr Čeferin.
“These attributes are personified by Francesco Totti – a man who has given around a quarter of a century of his life playing for his beloved AS Roma. Congratulations, Francesco, for a fantastic career and for your extraordinary loyalty and dedication, to Roma and to football.”
Totti ended his playing association with Roma, whom he first captained at the age of 22, as their leading appearance maker and 307-goal top scorer. In Italian football as a whole, only one man, Silvio Piola, can better his tally of 250 Serie A goals.
A FIFA World Cup winner with Italy in 2006, Totti helped Roma to the Scudetto in 2001 and the Coppa Italia in 2007 and 2008. He became the oldest goalscorer in UEFA Champions League history in 2014, three days after his 38th birthday. Two days on from his 40th this season, he claimed a hat-trick of assists in a UEFA Europa League game.
Totti has won the 17th edition of the award.
Previous winners of the UEFA President’s Award:
1998: Jacques Delors (European Commission, France)
2000: Guy Roux (France)
2001: Juan Santisteban (Spain)
2002: Sir Bobby Robson (England)
2003: Paolo Maldini (Italy)
2004: Ernie Walker (Scotland)
2005: Frank Rijkaard (Netherlands)
2006: Wilfried Straub (Germany)
2007: Alfredo Di Stéfano (Spain)
2008: Sir Bobby Charlton (England)
2009: Eusébio (Portugal)
2010: Raymond Kopa (France)
2011: Gianni Rivera (Italy)
2012: Franz Beckenbauer (Germany)
2013: Johan Cruyff (Netherlands)
2014: Josef Masopust (Czech Republic)