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Totti targets Roma improvements 'across the board'

Roma director Francesco Totti believes the Giallorossi are closing the gap on their rivals, as the 2017-18 campaign heads towards its second half.

Totti was speaking in Dubai, where the Giallorossi director was receiving a prize honouring his career at the International Sports Conference.

"Roma are one of the teams capable of winning the Scudetto," Totti said. "They're one of the three of four teams that can really compete for the title of champions of Italy - they're a very strong, competitive side.

"It's a different season this year from previous campaigns, because there are three of four very good teams who will be trying to go all the way and get as many points as possible."

You were at Allianz Stadium to watch the Juventus match recently. Do you envy the Bianconeri at all?

"The word envy doesn't form part of my vocabulary. I just look, listen and scrutinise. Right now the only thing I can envy is the fact that the own their own stadium. Of course, in terms of football they have won lots of Scudetto and Champions Leagues titles."

Is it really more difficult to win a Scudetto in Rome than it is elsewhere?

"The stats will tell you this, that winning a Scudetto in Rome is worth ten times one won elsewhere in Italy. It's just talk though - let's hope that this Roma team can develop and improve across the board."

A certain No.10 - Paulo Dybala - is having a tough time of it now and lots of foreign clubs seem to be interested in signing him. Are you considering it?

"We're not a foreign club and in any case I think it would be very tough. If he were to leave Juve I don't think he would come to Roma. This is bar talk - I think he'll stay there because Juve are one of the top clubs in the world."

Daniele De Rossi said today that he misses you on the pitch because you helped him to win football matches.

"I miss him because I used to sit next to him on the bus to go to the stadium [laughter]. Perhaps he misses our chats and jokes. He helped us win matches too - as did the rest of the team."

You said that you think Lionel Messi is better than Cristiano Ronaldo today...

"I'd have both of them - Cristiano and Messi - but if I did have to choose I would go with Leo because of his way of playing. He's like a juggler - he's always dribbling and being inventive. But that doesn't take anything away from Cristiano. Both of them are above the normal level. I choose Messi because I'm better friends with him than I am with Cristiano."

You've said that you don't like to see some of the exorbitant fees that are coming into the game. What kind of effect are they having in your eyes?

"Those figures don't fit with the budgets, especially in Italy. As I said today, football has changed - clubs don't focus on bringing players through from their youth academy anymore. They look overseas, where you pay a lot for a name. Clubs who don't have the means get left out."

You watched footage of your son playing in a youth tournament against Barcelona today. How did it feel to see him in action?

"I saw the Barcelona match today and it didn't go that well. I have to say that it was the first time I've watched him on the computer and it was quite emotional for me. There were a couple of moments when he reminded me of myself as a lad - those 30 or 40 minutes took me right back to my time in the youth academy.

"I was absolutely thrilled, but I hope he doesn't hear this. I always tell him the exact opposite of what I think. I'm happy with how it's going for him. He's having fun and if he continues in the game I'll be proud of him, otherwise he'll do something else."
Source: As Roma
Thursday December 28, 2017
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