Working on your birthday isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, but when your job is to be a professional footballer for the club you love, maybe it’s a bit different.
Francesco Totti dedicated his career to his hometown team Roma – and that meant representing them on his birthday on all three occasions possible to him.
Here is what happened in each of them.
2006 v Valencia
There were actually no Roma fixtures on Totti’s birthday while he was in their senior squad until he turned 30 in 2006.
Having also scored in Roma’s Champions League opener against Shakhtar Donetsk a couple of weeks earlier, Il Capitano again got his name on the scoresheet on matchday two of the group stage for Luciano Spalletti’s side, equalising against Valencia with a penalty in the 18th minute of a match in which he started at centre-forward.
David Villa went on to win it for the hosts in the second half, though, meaning there wasn’t much on the pitch for Totti to celebrate by the end of the day. Nevertheless, Roma eventually earned qualification to the knockout phase and Totti would enjoy the best goalscoring season of his career – outranking everyone else in Europe in the process – that term.
2009 v Catania
As Totti blew out 33 candles, the recently appointed Claudio Ranieri selected him as a starter in a Serie A match against Catania. At the top of a diamond formation, he partnered Mirko Vucinic in attack.
Totti completed the 90 minutes, but this time did not get on the scoresheet. The game finished as a 1-1 draw after an equaliser by Daniele De Rossi as late as the 92nd minute.
Roma ultimately finished second by the end of the season, just two points behind Jose Mourinho’s Inter.
2014 v Verona
The third and final time Totti played for Roma on his birthday was under the orders of Rudi Garcia as he reached the age of 38.
The 2014-15 season was the last in which he was a fairly frequent starter for Roma, so it came as no surprise when he led the line against Hellas Verona that day. Totti only lasted until the 66th minute, though, when he was replaced by Alessandro Florenzi.
Within 10 minutes, Florenzi gave Roma the lead and Totti’s fellow starter Mattia Destro would later score to confirm a 2-0 win.