What's the secret to Totti's longevity?

Totti

At the age of 38, Francesco Totti is still going strong and the talismanic star's off-the-field temperament may be responsible.

Francesco Totti is the oldest ever Champions League scorer - a fitting milestone for a man who continues to defy the ageing process.

The ultimate one-club man, Totti joined Roma at the age of 12 back in 1989 and has never been lured away even though there must have been no shortage of offers.

Some may accuse Totti of a lack of imagination for never wanting to experience the Premier League or to pull on a Real Madrid shirt, but wanderlust doesn't seem to be in his DNA.

Instead, Totti has always been comfortable at the Trigoria training complex that has become his second home. The routines are the same, the faces change a little, but for his entire adult life he has never had the stress of settling in a new country or even city, of winning his place in a new dressing room. The lack of drama off the field suits him down to the ground.

Unlike other captains, Totti isn't a yeller. Coach Rudi Garcia commented early in his reign that he was surprised to find that Totti kept himself to himself. He's a quiet presence in the dressing room, preferring to let Daniele De Rossi unleash the hairdryer treatment when needed.

"He is not a leader in the dressing room. It isn't Totti who shouts and motivates the troops, but he is liked by his teammates because he is an intelligent lad and quick witted," Garcia explained.

Perhaps it is Totti's calm, controlled environment off the field that has allowed him to keep putting in devastating displays on it.

When asked about Francesco, fellow players almost always mention how 'down to earth' he is. In interviews he is charming, humble and often almost child-like in his earnest desire to keep succeeding at the one club he has ever cared about. 

In the summer, when asked what he would give up for Roma to win the title, Totti thought for a while and then said: 'I'd give up ice cream for a year.' They could have been the words of Totti as a young ball boy back in the 1980s. And maybe that's the key to it all, the man they call 'Er Pupone', the Big Baby, has never had to grow up.

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