One of the biggest stories at the end of this season of European football involved Francesco Totti playing his last game for Roma. The Italian gladiator has played for Roma since 1992 (for reference, longer than I’ve been alive!). However, after receiving limited game-time from manager Luciano Spaletti, the Italian has decided to move on. After leaving Roma as one of Italy’s most decorated players, he appears to be interested in joining the NASL. If you believe the rumors, Alexandro Nesta’s Miami FC and the New York Cosmos are vying for his signature.
It’s no secret that the Cosmos need more attacking firepower, and maybe Totti can be the answer. There’s no doubt that even at the age of 40, Francesco Totti could make an impact for the Cosmos. If he were to play for the Cosmos, I imagine he would play a similar role to players like Raul and Juan Arango and work behind a striker. Like the pair of former Cosmos, he has an incredible passing range and the ability to score from set pieces that can help the New York get to the next level. Having a player like Totti could also help Giovani Savarese recruit more top level talent to come to New York. Finally, having perhaps the most decorated Italian player ever could do wonders for the Cosmos’ attendance. Totti playing in Brooklyn, which has a strong Italian-American population, could be a marketer’s match made in heaven. Signing Totti could be a huge statement of intent for owner Rocco Commisso to show the Cosmos mean business.
However, bringing in a player like Totti could have some downsides as well. First off, bringing in Totti will no doubt be expensive. After the Cosmos notoriously went bankrupt last year, signing the Italian could be risky business. Bringing in big-name players doesn’t also necessarily lead to a consistent increase in attendance as well. Although their location was a major issue for the Cosmos at Shuart, signing Senna, Raul, and Arango was not able to consistently put butts in seats in Shuart. Also if you look at our crosstown rivals NYCFC, the mid-season arrival of Totti’s compatriot Andrea Pirlo could not prevent a perhaps inevitable attendance drop at Yankee Stadium from the first season to the second.
Finally, also like Andrea Pirlo, who has not necessarily impressed in the Bronx, one could question how much Francesco Totti has left in the tank. There’s no question he’s one of the best, but American domestic soccer has a quicker pace in comparison to Serie A. Players like Lampard, Gerrard, and the previously mention Pirlo have struggled to keep up in their twilight years despite their quality. Let’s not forget that Totti only started in one of his 18 Serie A appearances. Especially considering New York plays on turf, don’t expect Totti to be the first name on Savarese’s team sheet.
So would Totti be a good signing for the Cosmos? I personally think he would be worth rolling the dice on, but then again Rocco Commisso would be signing the check, not me. What do you think Cosmos country?