|© UNICEF Italy/2006/Ruggeri|
|Francesco Totti donated half of the royalties from sales of his very popular book of jokes about himself to UNICEF.|
Francesco Totti, born in Rome in 1976, is one of Italy’s – and the world’s – great football players, and one of football’s finest players worldwide. He enjoys immense popularity with young people around the world, and his genuine desire to help children led him to become a National Ambassador for the Italian Committee for UNICEF in March 2003. He was officially appointed Ambassador before an important football match, in front of 70,000 spectators.
Mr. Totti dedicated his nomination “to all the children suffering from armed conflicts all over the world” and said he hoped to be able to use his fame to help them, with UNICEF. In 2003, he made strong appeals for the protection of children during the Iraqi crisis, and in 2004, he donated to UNICEF half of the royalties from sales of his very popular book of jokes about himself.
He has also appeared in a public service announcement for the National Day of the Child, launched appeals for children's rights and visited the Democratic Republic of Congo with UNICEF in the summer of 2003. After representing UNICEF during the 2002 FIFA World Cup, Goodwill Ambassador Totti is back again to join forces with UNICEF and FIFA for the UNITE FOR CHILDREN UNITE FOR PEACE campaign this year.
Roaming behind the strikers
From 1989, at age 13, Mr. Totti began his career with the Roma football club, playing on the junior team. In 1993 he played his first professional league match with Roma, and in 1996 was called for the first time to join the Italian national team.
Today, he is captain of the Roma club and a pillar of the Italian national team. His star began to shine internationally during the European Football Championships in 2000, when he led Italy to a second-place finish.
Mr. Totti is known for his command of a variety of attacking positions on the field. But it is in a roaming role behind the strikers that he is most dangerous. In the 2000-2001 season he helped AS Roma secure their first league title since 1983, scoring 13 Serie A goals. In the 2001-02 campaign Roma finished second to Juventus, but Totti reached a personal-best of 14 goals during the 2002-03 season. He was named Italy's Player of the Year in 2000 and in 2003.
Famous for his chip shots, called in Italian il cucchiaio (or spoon), Mr. Totti has scored many memorable goals using this technique.