Nutella and Big Brother keep Totti's spirits up

On Monday afternoon, Sky Sports Italia made a pilgrimage to the bedside of the stricken deity Francesco Totti.

The television broadcaster was allowed into the shrine at the Villa Stuart Clinic to calm the fears of concerned locals and assure them that although Roma’s title dreams are now in tatters, their living embodiment of all things Roman will rise from the hospital bed again.

Er Pupone had turned up at the clinic on Sunday only to spend half an hour hobbling through the scrum of local and national media to make it to the operating theatre, where he was probably glad to go under just for a bit of peace and quiet.

Italians seem to have a encyclopaedic knowledge of medical terms so when a hospital spokesperson came out to announce that they had repaired a partial break to the anterior cruciate ligament in the right knee which also involved a small meniscal tear, the crowd nodded their heads knowingly like a group of diligent student doctors.

Over the next two days a procession of local celebrities, including team-mates, politicians, various family members and the latest winner of Big Brother, made their way inside to pay their respects.

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The great man has been keeping his own counsel but various emissaries have reported that he is in rude health, especially when presented with a jar of his favourite Nutella snack by members of the club’s Curva Sud ultras.

He should be back home in three days or so with another nice scar to add to a pair of battered legs which already look as if they've been set upon by a school of piranhas.

The specialists are confident that Totti will be back for the start of the new season but with his 32nd birthday just around the corner he may err on the side of caution.

After all, he had his ankle nearly torn off in February 2006 by Empoli defender Richard Vanigli and then rushed back to play in the World Cup with 10 screws embedded in the appendage.

In the meantime, Romans will for once have to get used to a lack of Totti in their lives.