Francesco Totti: How I almost quit football

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AS Roma captain Francesco Totti has revealed that he almost retired from professional football following the furore after the Coppa Italia final last season.

The Giallorossi lost 1-0 to Inter Milan but the talking point was Totti's disgraceful kick on Nerazzurri striker Mario Balotelli.

Totti saw red in every sense, but more anguish was to follow afterwards when Balotelli accused him of making racist comments which sparked a wave of outrage against the Roma talisman.

"There was a moment in which I thought about quitting because of what happened," Totti told the press in Riscone di Brunico.

"But in the end after speaking with people who are important to me, I changed my mind because when there is the passion it's right to go forward.

"I thought about what happened both on and off the pitch. Every time that something happens with me it's blown out of proportion 10 times more.

"I have asked myself why on many occasions. Perhaps it's envy, or perhaps it happens because in the end I am a good person. But I'm probably unlikeable to many because I am Roman.

"I have always said that I am proud to be Roman, I have always said it. Unfortunately there will always be envy between Rome and the North.

"But I think that people should think more about Italy than about what I say or do or what the Romans do. There are more important things."