Simone Perrotta reflects on his 40th birthday, what he misses about football and not being told he’s got a statue in Ashton-Under-Lyne.
“Today I will run a Half Marathon, then spend the rest of my birthday with my family,” the former Roma hero told Il Giornale.
His greatest career moment was winning the World Cup with Italy in 2006, but he names another close to his heart.
“It’s too easy to say the World Cup, but I’m also very fond of the goal at Siena in December 2012. I wasn’t playing much under Zdenek Zeman, but I came on with 10 minutes to go and scored for 2-1. I usually never ran towards the Curva Sud, but this time I did with my teammates.”
Perrotta is famously a pub quiz answer, one of three players born in Ashton-Under-Lyne to have won the World Cup, along with England’s Jimmy Armfield and Geoff Hurst.
In December 2010, a statue was erected in the Manchester suburb depicting all three of them, but Perrotta revealed a curious backstory.
“It was my uncle, who still lives there, who told me about it. I find it a big strange nobody else alerted me to the existence of this statue. My kids were surprised standing there in front of the statues of those Arsenal players. And I thought: ‘Hey, I’m there too…’
“Retiring was my choice. I could’ve gone to MLS, but it would’ve been damaging to my family and in Italy I would only play for Roma. I do still miss the atmosphere of the locker room.
“When Roma didn’t renew my contract, they offered me a role as a union between team and club, but I have already accepted a position with Damiano Tommasi in the Players’ Association.”
Perrotta’s old Roma and Italy teammate Francesco Totti is now part of the club staff.
“I am surprised seeing him with a tie on – he never used to wear one! Seeing him in that role gives prestige to the club. If Francesco walks into the locker room, he makes sure you know what it means to be a Roma player.
“I would’ve liked to see Alessandro Del Piero and Paolo Maldini take on similar roles at Juventus and Milan.”