Roma chief Daniele Prade has defended the new contract handed to Francesco Totti.

The Giallorossi have given the forward a new five-year deal worth £4m a season in a controversial step, seeing as the agreement will see him net that figure past his 37th birthday.

"Francesco shouldn't be looked at as simply a footballer," Prade explained. "He is our symbol and that fact remains.

"His relationship with this city can't be diluted and there are no problems."

Prade added that the loyalty which Totti has shown his beloved side over the years is a factor that shouldn't be underestimated.

"He has always been a target for the big clubs. He could have joined a new outfit every year, but he always preferred Roma.

"He is the greatest player that Roma have ever had, he's a reference point and the criticism he is getting is arriving from just a small minority."