Francesco Totti has attempted to defuse the simmering tensions between the supporters of Manchester United and Roma by making a personal apology to a female United supporter who was attacked by police at last season’s game in the Stadio Olimpico.
Ahead of Tuesday’s meeting between the two clubs, Totti has sent 23-year-old Carly Lyes a video message expressing regret for her treatment at the hands of the Rome police. Television footgae showed her being repeatedly hit on the head by the carabinieri.
“We would like to apologise for the treatment you received in Rome last season and we hope it has not damaged the opinion you and your fellow supporters have of our city,” Totti tells her in the message. “We would also like to invite you to the Olympic Stadium for the game later this year and treat you as our special guest.”
Lyes is one of four United fans pursuing a legal case against the Italian police.
“I was presented with a replacement camera at Old Trafford last week and it contained a video message,” she said. “It’s a nice touch and let’s hope it signals a more peaceful atmosphere when we play Roma twice in the next few months. Sadly, however, I have still not had an apology from the Italian police.”
At least 11 United fans were stabbed in clashes with Roma’s Ultras before and after last season’s quarter-final in Rome and there were revenge attacks when the Italians came to Old Trafford. The two clubs meet again in Manchester tomorrow night and police are treating the encounter as a high-risk fixture.