Francesco Totti only played against Steven Gerrard twice at club level, in the Champions League in 2001-02, but the Italian legend was mightily impressed with what he saw…
The AS Roma attacker has been with the same club since his debut in 1992/93, so is in a perfect position to revere one of Europe’s other ‘one-club men’ (although Gerrard is of course leaving to join MLS franchise LA Galaxy in the summer.
“I’d put him in the top three, not just in England but in the world because he’s a complete player, someone who’s always made the difference ever since he was young. And he’s still doing that for Liverpool,” Totti began…
“Ultimately, he’s a player I like to watch and enjoy up close. The Liverpool fans should be honoured to have had a captain like him.
“I’ve got both positive and negative memories of Steven Gerrard because it’s always great to come up against players like him.
“That said, I don’t have particularly fond memories of playing against Liverpool, especially at their place. They were always open games but ultimately the results were negative.”
“Would I have liked to play alongside him?” the Italian continued. “I think anyone would love to play with players of that calibre.
“He’s a terrific player; he’s a match-winner, so I think he’s a player any club in the world would want.
“Gerrard is a complete player because he can play in every position and can do everything with a football at any time in a game. He’s a player who scores goals, who builds the play, he’s a sensational player.
“I think people all over the world know that Gerrard has been a Liverpool legend. He’s spent many years playing for one team and has always fought for that club. He should be respected and thanked for everything he’s achieved.”
The quotes are the latest in a long line of wonderful tributes Gerrard has received over the past week, having just played his final ever match at Anfield.
Sadly, Gerrard had a quiet game, and the rest of his team-mates were very shoddy, and we eventually lost 3-1 to Alan Pardew’s Crystal Palace.
As a thank you to Gerrard for his years of service though, the fans ignored the result to laud our captain come the final whistle, and the scenes were very emotional.
Totti was right to say what he has, and the brilliant Italian can likely expect similar ovations when he eventually plays his final game for Roma. To date, he’s racked up 741 appearances and scored 299 goals.