KANSAS CITY, Mo. — He'll arguably be one of the major attractions in the first-ever MLS All-Star Game featuring an Italian Serie A team.
Francesco Totti is the symbol of AS Roma, the All-Stars' opponents on Wednesday night at Sporting Park (9 pm ET on ESPN2, TSN and UniMas, Live chat on MLSsoccer.com). But for all you've heard about the 2006 World Cup winner, he's even greater than you can imagine.
“[With] Francesco you’re talking about one of the best players who’s ever played," Roma's American midfielder Michael Bradley said at Monday's All-Star press conference. "I can assure you that when you’re up close and around him every day and play with him you realize that he’s so much better than everyone realizes.
"I think one of the things that has served him so well in his career has been his loyalty to the city of Rome and to the club," Bradley continued. "He’s had chances to leave [Roma] at different times but he’s always stayed true to what he feels and where he’s from and that’s something that Roma fans have so much respect and appreciation for.”
WATCH: Bradley and Henry talk Totti
But even though Totti has been a one-club man for his entire career, would he ever decide to play in MLS? He admits he's already had the conversation with his good friend Marco Di Vaio, the Montreal Impact's All-Star forward and a fellow native of Rome.
"It’s true. [Di Vaio] asked me if I had the desire to play in America," Totti revealed. "But right now I'm only thinking about Roma and that’s it. I have a contract to respect and then one can have these life experiences. He’s happy.”
While the personal connection with Di Vaio makes the match that much more special for Totti, the game mainly serves as another step for a new-look AS Roma to take shape with the goal of proving they can be one of Europe's top teams in the upcoming season.
"We are satisfied because the organization is doing well with player acquisitions," Totti said of his club's offseason. "It’s trying to rebuild a team to match the strongest teams in Europe and we are looking to become one of those teams as soon as possible.
"We have faith. And I think you win things with strong players.”
And Totti is still at the top of their list.