In the season 2005-2006, Roma’s new coach Luciano Spalletti, went with a 4–2–3–1 formation, deploying Totti in a newer, more offensive role as a lone striker. Despite his new attacking role, Totti usually dropped deep to pick up the ball in midfield rather than operating in the penalty area, thus creating space for the attacking midfielders and wingers to making offensive runs; the resulting system was later described as a 4–6–0, while Totti’s particular attacking role was dubbed the “false-9”. In this new position, Totti continued to score frequently, managing 15 goals in 24 league matches. In the spring of 2005, he renewed his contract until 2010, with an annual salary of €5.4 million. On 19 February 2006, he suffered a fracture of his left fibula and ligament damage during a match against Empoli after being fouled by Richard Vanigli. Totti was at risk of missing the 2006 World Cup, but returned to the side on 11 May 2006 as a substitute in Roma’s 3–1 Coppa Italia final defeat to Inter. A metal plate had been attached to his ankle during surgery, but doctors decided not to operate again and remove it following Totti’s return, concurring that the plate would not affect his game. He was given off-label treatments of teriparatide to speed-up his fracture recovery.
Things to Know:
Totti was born in Rome to parents Lorenzo and Fiorella Totti. He was raised in the Porta Metronia neighbourhood. As a youngster he idolised ex-Roma captain Giuseppe Giannini, and regularly played football with older boys. Totti began to play youth team football at the age of 8, with Fortitudo, later joining Smit Trastevere and Lodigiani. After he came to the attention of scouts, his mother refused a lucrative offer from Milan in order to keep him in his home town. Although his youth club initially had come to an agreement to sell Totti to the Lazio youth side, one of Roma’s youth coaches, Gildo Giannini, persuaded his parents to let him join the Roma youth squad in 1989.