Francesco Totti has sought to defuse the tensions between the supporters of Manchester United and Roma by making a personal apology to a female victim of the violence that overshadowed last season's game in the Stadio Olimpico.
In a deliberate peace initiative ahead of tomorrow's Champions League tie at Old Trafford, Totti has sent 23-year-old Carly Lyes a video message expressing regret for her treatment at the hands of the Rome carabinieri. She was among dozens of United supporters who were baton-charged inside the stadium, with television pictures showing her repeatedly being struck to the head.
She had been trying to film what was happening but her camera was snatched from her and she was beaten to the ground. "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."