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Lippi unmoved by Totti’s come-get-me hints
While everyone at AS Roma would probably do the Birdie song standing on their heads if Francesco Totti asked, the Italian capital’s golden boy learned his charms have limits this week.
The striker has been hinting for some time he’d like to come out of international retirement, having quit Italy after being part of Lippi’s 2006 World Cup-winning team.
The most recent come-get-me call was last month, when he said he would “think twice” about returning if Marcello Lippi picked up the phone.
But Lippi is either not getting the signals or he’s turning a deaf ear.
“Francesco is an extraordinary lad and player, but he’s made his decision and I’m not going back on it,” Lippi told reporters at the Azzurri’s training camp for Wednesday’s friendly in Switzerland.
There are two ways the Roma captain can interpret this. Either Lippi wants him back but would like the player to explicitly say he has made a U-turn, so it doesn’t seem like the boss is coming cap in hand for help after Italy’s dreadful Confederations Cup showing.
Or Lippi has no place in his plans for a gifted-yet-injury prone 32-year-old and Totti’s retirement is a good way to sidestep the issue. After all, Lippi already has plenty of people on the wrong side of their prime — what he needs are more players whose best days are in front of them.
I suspect it’s the second option. In which case, Totti would be wise to stop dropping the hints, take Paolo Maldini’s lead and devote his exception talents exclusively to his club in the twilight of his career.
PHOTO: AS Roma’s Francesco Totti celebrates after scoring against Ghent during their UEFA Europa League qualifier at the Otten stadium in Ghent Aug 6, 2009. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir