x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Injury fears recede for Roma hero Totti

Roma captain Francesco Totti has expressed his relief after he discovered his knee injury is less serious than first thought.

Roma captain Francesco Totti has expressed his relief after he discovered his knee injury is less serious than first thought. The Italian striker strained ligaments during Sunday's 2-1 win over Napoli. The 33-year-old underwent surgery on that knee last year and admitted he feared the worst. "I was really scared but I am happy that it is nothing serious," said Totti, who scored both goals in the Napoli game. "I did not want to be forced to stop now."

The former Italy international should be back in action within 10 to 15 days. Meanwhile, Napoli coach Roberto Donadoni's future at the club is uncertain. Their defeat to Roma was Napoli's fourth of the campaign, putting pressure on the manager. Club president Aurelio De Laurentiis said: "I adore Donadoni as a person but probably we have different ideas." Juventus coach Ciro Ferrara admitted the best team won following his side's 2-0 defeat at Palermo. Sunday's result prevented them from going top of Serie A.

"It is useless to find an excuse," said Ferrara. "Nothing worked for us. Palermo played better and we have no alibi." The former Barcelona player and coach Johan Cruyff believes the Catalan giants were wrong to extend Lionel Messi's contract until 2016 and feels they did so because they feared Real Madrid's spending power. The Catalan giants tied Messi to a long-term deal last month .

Reports suggested Real president Florentino Perez was considering a bid for Messi and Cruyff believes that forced Barca's hand. "I'm not in favour of long contracts," he wrote in El Periodico de Catalunya. "To extend it until 2016 seems excessive. "The club did it for the old fear of in case the bogeyman came and took him away. sports@thenational.ae