Francesco Totti

While it is arguable whether or not Francesco Totti is actually playing well as Roma tear from the Italian league, it’s hard denying his efficiency, which is quite easy to demonstrate through numbers, making him quite a phenomenon at the advanced footballing age of 37.

Eight matches into the new season, Totti has so far scored three goals and added six assists on Roma’s perfect 8-from-8 start. One of his goals has come from a penalty kick, but his positioning and decision making while making a minimal effort in terms of movement on the pitch just goes to show that while being limited in terms of speed, as long as he’s used correctly, Roma can still benefit from their greatest player.

How good is he historically? Totti is second on the Serie A’s all-time scoring list with 230 goals, now 60 behind Silvio Piola. Totti’s goal ratio of one every 2.35 games is also better than most great Italian 10’s in Serie A’s recent history, including Alessandro Del Piero (208 goals in 513 games), Gianfranco Zola (134 goals in 400 games) and Roberto Mancini (156 goals in 541 matches). Only Roberto Baggio (221 goals in 448 games) has scored more frequently.

One of the most impressive feats by Totti is his elder scoring. He has scored more than 100 league goals since turning 30. Baggio scored 80 goals after reaching that age. His production  is impressive even when comparing it to younger players, and it doesn’t come through goals alone.

Since 27 September 2006, when Totti turned 30, he is ranked in the top 15 players across the major European leagues in both goals and assists. Only Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney match him in that aspect. Since the start of 2010-11, when Gareth Bale turned into an unstoppable winger after being a disappointing left back, Totti’s scoring and shot figures are almost identical to the Welshman’s.

Opta’s data shows they both have 38 league goals, although the Italian’s shooting accuracy (52.1% compared with 50.88%) and shot-to-goals conversion rate (15.97% v 13.43%) are marginally better. Although Totti might not have agreed to leave Roma to Real Madrid, he would have cost Los Blancos a lot less money.

Where does this end for Totti? For him, with another title, and maybe another go in the Champions League, a competition he hasn’t been able to put his imprint on due to Roma’s lack of success there, never making it too far in the competition. Having only one league title (And too many second-place finishes) probably hurts as well for one of the greatest Italian players of all time.

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