36-year-old Italian midfielder, who has played over 600 times for Roma, winning the Coppa Italia twice, but didn’t win the Serie A title, will leave Roma at the end of the season after 18 years, De Rossi is known for his selflessness, loyalty and generosity during his time with AS Roma.
Players, Fans, Coaches even club president and C.E.O have sent in their tributes.
All AS Roma players turned up for Daniele De Rossi’s farewell press conference and then gave him a standing ovation wearing Jerseys with De Rossi’s name.
De Rossi in his farewell message said “I thank God for the career I’ve had. I would have been happy if I’d manage to emulate my father’s career, in Serie C. He’s my idol. When I was 14 or 15, it did not look like I would ever become as good as I did. Eventually I would like to be a coach.
At this point I don’t see myself becoming a director, but at Roma a role like that would have some meaning. I need to go away and study, to learn – it will be a long journey.”
A World Cup winners’ medal is easily the most prized possession in a footballers’ career, and it was treasured by De Rossi.
De Rossi who was part of Italy’s team that won the World cup in the 2006 tournament in Germany, beating France on penalties in Berlin to secure the Azzurri’s fourth World Cup. The kitman when Italy won the tournament, Pietro Lombardi passed away in 2016 at the age of 92.
Nicknamed ‘The Toothbrush’ because of how handy he was at leaning the players’ boots, Lombardi was a huge hit with the Italy squad, including De Rossi.
And so when it came to his funeral, De Rossi gave away his most prized possession, he took his medal along and placed it in the late Lombardi coffin to show just how much he meant to him.
In November 2017, De Rossi showed his class again when he went out of his way to see the victorious Swedish players on their bus after Italy failed to qualify the 2018 World Cup. He congratulated them on their achievement and apologised for his Italian fans booing the swedish national anthem.
President James Pallotta said “For 18 years, Daniele was the beating heart of AS Roma. He has always embodied Roma as a player on the field with pride, establishing himself as one of Europe’s best midfielders, starting from his debut in 2001 until he assumed responsibility for the captain’s armband. On behalf of the whole club, I want to thank Daniele for his extraordinary commitment to the club.”
Interestingly, unlike fellow Roma legend Francesco Totti, who retired in 2017 after a 24-year career at the Stadio Olimpico, De Rossi will not be hanging up his boots as he seeks a new adventure.