Totti nets five-year Roma deal to ease Italy rejection

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The Independent Online

The Italy midfielder Francesco Totti put behind him the disappointment of being left out of the squad to face Norway in the World Cup qualifier on Saturday by signing a five-year contract to remain at Roma yesterday.

The Italy midfielder Francesco Totti put behind him the disappointment of being left out of the squad to face Norway in the World Cup qualifier on Saturday by signing a five-year contract to remain at Roma yesterday.

Totti's deal is worth a reported €10.4m (£7.03m) and keeps him at his home-city club until June 2010.

However, the playmaker, who served a three-game ban at Euro 2004 for spitting at an opponent and is coming to the end of a five-match ban for punching an opponent in the league, did not make the squad to face Norway. The Italy coach, Marcello Lippi, denied his exclusion was punishment for the misdemeanours.

"I didn't receive any pressure from the federation, Lippi said. "My choice is not a form of punishment. I spoke with him and explained the reasons and he understood. I had in mind a certain Italy, the choice is technical but there are also other reasons which I don't need to explain.

"Italy is not only Totti," Lippi said. "I realise he's one of the best players in Europe. It can be that for one game out of 30 I don't call him up. Totti will become important and decisive again in September."

Lippi also left out the Juventus captain and forward Alessandro Del Piero.

- Milan have completed the signing of the Czech international Marek Jankulovski from Udinese on a four-year contract.

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