Italy legend Rossi hails Totti as 'the strongest in the last 20 years'

The legendary Roma star turns 40 on Tuesday, and one of Italian football’s all-time greats has paid tribute to him and a team-mate who looked like “a donkey” a month ago

Former Italy and Juventus star Paolo Rossi has described Francesco Totti as the strongest player in Serie A for the last 20 years.

The veteran Roma forward, who turns 40 on Tuesday, has re-established himself as a key part of Luciano Spalletti’s plans at the Stadio Olimpico, making four appearances so far in what is due to be his 25th and final season as a player.

Totti is second only to Italy great Silvio Piola in Serie A’s all-time goalscoring charts, and has made the most appearances in the division of any current player – sitting behind only Javier Zanetti and Paolo Maldini in the all-time standings.

Though Totti has won the league title just once during his long career, Rossi – a European champion with Juve and a World Cup-winner with Italy – feels nobody can match his exploits since his debut in 1992.

When asked for his view on Totti, Rossi told Corriere della Sera: “Totti has been the strongest in Italy for the last 20 years.”

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Indeed, Rossi believes Totti has helped to bring the best out of Edin Dzeko this season, with the former Manchester City striker silencing some of his critics thanks to four goals in five league games.

“Until a month ago, Dzeko was seen as a donkey, and now he’s looked at as a champion. I don’t think he’s either – but he’s a top striker,” said Rossi.

“The support from Totti can make a difference.”

Roma, who sit two points behind champions Juve, face Torino on Sunday

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