The 39-year-old one-club man Totti has been angling for an extra year’s contract at Roma, where his playing time has been restriced this season in part due to a lengthy injury lay-off.

A recent meeting between Pallotta and Totti proved fruitless, with reports claiming the American businessman is keen to see Totti hang up his boots and steer him towards a director’s role.

But the impasse has cast a shadow over the team as they continue their bid for a top-three finish to clinch one of Serie A’s Champions League qualifying spots.

Roma host Inter Milan in what Spalletti said is a “fundamental” league fixture later Saturday. It could could see the Giallorossi claim their ninth consecutive win and leave Inter eight points adrift of the last Champions League spot.

After telling media “this is the last time I want to talk about this”, Spalletti said the Totti issue needs resolved once and for all.

“Totti and Pallotta need to meet, talk to each other without (outside) interference and then come to a decision that will make both men happy,” he said. 

“Then we will have to accept what has been decided.” 

Spalletti, who took over from sacked Frenchman Rudi Garcia two months ago, has transformed Roma’s fortunes but in his second spell at the Stadio Olimpico his relationship with Totti has been tested. 

The 57-year-old coach was forced to dig his heels in recently after Totti claimed he “deserves more respect”, and more regular playing time, in a scathing television interview.

It proved a risky move by the club veteran. Although he won backing from many fans, who turned up at the Stadio Olimpico with ‘Io Sto Con Totti’ (I’m with Totti) banners, Spalletti was not impressed.

“I don’t accept any of my players speaking out like that on the eve of a crucial game for us, especially when we’re on a four-game winning run,” Spalletti said last month.

“He’s Roma’s biggest ever player, but it’s my duty to make sure there is a balance in the dressing room.”

Totti has made only a couple of appearances since and the future of the club icon — now in his 23rd season with Roma — remains unclear.

If club bosses fail to resolve Totti’s future this summer, it could unsettle Spalletti. Although his contract expires at the end of next season, the former Zenit St Petersburg coach said recently if he is to remain at Roma he wants the full backing of Pallotta.

“If I stay at Roma, I want to have the possibility of being able to fight for the Scudetto: I’ve already finished runner-up in the past a few times,” he said. – Agence France-Presse

- Advertisement -