Totti threatens to steal Derby d'Italia's thunder

Serie A leaders Juventus visit Champions League-chasing Inter Milan on Saturday but the Derby d'Italia rivalry could be overshadowed by the exploits of AS Roma's 36-year-old Francesco Totti.

Roma, joint fifth with Inter and Lazio, travel to struggling Palermo with Totti enjoying a second wind after overtaking Gunnar Nordahl's total of 225 Serie A goals to become the second-highest scorer in the league's history.

On Thursday, the one-club player celebrated 20 years since his professional debut for Roma and promised that he had no intention of calling it a day.

"If I had played as a centre-forward for my entire career, I would have scored more than 300 goals and already have overtaken Silvio Piola," said Totti, who still appears to have an impossible task to reach Piola's record of 274 goals.

"I hope to continue until I'm 40," he told Gazzetta dello Sport in an interview. "Next week, club president James Palotta will be in Rome and I want to talk to him about renewing my contract [which expires next season]."

"Those 20 years have flown by because I've done everything with passion."

There has even been talk of an Italy recall for Totti, who has not played for his country since the 2006 World Cup.

"A World Cup is as good as it gets, especially in Brazil where football is everything but if things went badly, the critics would say that Italy had taken an old guy who ruined the squad."

Palermo coach Giuseppe Sannino will be at the helm for the second match in his second stint of the season at Palermo, having been fired after the first three games of the championship.

Since then, Palermo, joint bottom with Pescara on 21 points, have employed Gian Piero Gasperini twice, the second spell lasting two matches, and also put Alberto Toresani in charge for three games in between.

"The most serious mistake I made was firing Sannino," said Palermo's volatile president Maurizio Zamparini this week. "But that was a different Sannino and his relationship with the team was not positive."

Juventus, whose rivalry with Inter is one of the bitterest in the country, visit San Siro for an afternoon kick-off hoping to avenge a 3-1 home defeat earlier in the competition which ended a 49-match unbeaten league run.

That win put Inter within a point of Juventus but they now find themselves 18 adrift while Diego Milito, who scored a brace in the first game, is out for the season.

Inter still have hopes of finishing third which would earn them a place in the Champions League playoff round, although even that would mean making up seven points on rivals AC Milan.

Juventus, who have 65 points and one eye on the following Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final first leg at Bayern Munich, are nine clear of Napoli, who are away to mid-table Torino.

Milan, a further two points behind Napoli with 54, are at Chievo. The entire programme will be played on Saturday.


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