Fans will often go to unusual lengths to get a selfie alongside their favorite star but not many would consider an extra week in jail as an option.
But that’s exactly what happened when it was announced that Francesco Totti would join his Italy teammates in a tour of a local prison, shortly after winning the 2006 World Cup, according to the Roma great.
“Everyone was very happy because for them to see a player inside was like seeing the Pope,” Totti told Italian television channel RAI as he promotes his autobiography, which is published Thursday.
“There was this lad there that kept shouting, ‘Me! Me! Me!’ and wanted, at absolutely all costs, to take a photo with me.
“No-one would let him through, but he started to push his way forward and try and get closer to me to take a photo. I did not really understand why he was so determined.”
It wasn’t until after the players had left the prison that someone told Totti why that particular fan had been so keen to grab a selfie with his hero.
“They let me know that he was supposed to leave a week before, but had asked to stay one week longer because he had heard that I would be going there,” Totti continued.
“And also because he told them: ‘If you make me leave, I will do something crazy to be sent back here.'”
Totti made 786 appearances in a 15-year-career for Roma, guiding his side to the Serie A title in 2001.
His talent and loyalty to the club’s colors — Totti never played for another team — has entrenched the forward as an icon of Roma and Italian football.
“Even if I lived for another 100 years, I’ll never again have a chance like this to have my photo taken alongside Totti,” the fan wrote in an open letter, according to the Roma star.
Roma has faced a tough start to the season, winning just one of their first five league matches, and have a run on important fixtures ahead.
They next face rivals Lazio in the Rome derby on Saturday before hosting Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League on Tuesday. A win is essential following their 3-0 loss to Real Madrid in their opening group game.