The Magic One – De Rossi

Boca Juniors have recently confirmed the signing of Italian midfielder Daniele De Rossi, who opted to leave Roma after 18 years at the and joins the Argentinian side on a free transfer. At 36, many suspected the midfielder would retire as a one-club man when Roma did not renew his contract this summer. However De Rossi had a different plan, announcing the following at a press conference in May.

“I still want to play football, it would be unjust to me if I decide to stop now.”

De Rossi

The third blog in the @Steinkelsson Biography series looks into the career ‘Capitan Futuro’ which has seen the Defensive Midfielder pick up no fewer than five winners medals and lifting the coveted Jules Rimet Trophy.

De Rossi was born in Rome. He is the son of Alberto De Rossi, former Roma player and Roma’s Primavera coach.

De Rossi joined the Roma Youth System, he made his first-team debut for Roma under manager Fabio Capello on 10 October 2001 against  Belgian side Anderlecht in the UEFA Champions League. In his first season with the club, he also made three appearances in the Coppa Italia. The following season, he made his Serie A debut on 25 January 2003 against Como. Later that season, his first Serie A start, along with his first league and career goal, came on 10 May 2003 against Torino.

He soon established himself as a permanent member of the starting line-up, fiery and combative, momentum was building in gaining De Rossi the reputation of a tough tackling midfielder. During the next few seasons De Rossi helped Roma and Spalletti to a second-place finish in Serie A during the 2003/04 season and consecutive Coppa Italia finals in 2005 and 2006. 

De Rossi’s stock value grew along with his reputation, De Rossi was starting to be known for his maturity, tenacity and leadership on the pitch, on 15 March 2006, De Rossi fulfilled his destiny by donning the captain’s armband for the first time in an UEFA Cup match against Middlesbrough. The icing on the cake of what was a strong season for De Rossi saw him named the 2006 Serie A Young Footballer of the Year for his performances.

On the International scene De Rossi was about to achieve every footballers dream and lift the World Cup, however this feat may have been very different if his wider value to the Azzurri had not been appreciated by Marcello Lippi. After brushing aside Ghana in Italy’s opening fixture De Rossi saw red for a loose elbow which caught American Brian McBride. De Rossi was reprimanded with a four match ban which would see him banned up until the Final.

“He is one of the best midfielders in the world”

Marcello Lippi

Fortunately for De Rossi the Azzurri made the Final with France standing between them and their name etched into the history books. Drawing 1-1 after 61 minutes Lippi introduced De Rossi to the play, the young midfielder helped his side to secure the trophy when he smashed his penalty past Fabien Barthez to give Italy the momentum after David Trezeguet’s thundered against the crossbar.

In 2008/09 De Rossi was crowned the King of Serie A, he lead Roma to a second place finish in Serie A and also a chance to retain the Coppa Italia against i Nerazzurri who they defeated the previous year 2-1. Unfortunately Ranieri couldn’t navigate his side to victory and whispers were starting to be heard surrounding the future of De Rossi and a potential move to Manchester City.

The summer of 2017 will forever be remembered within the history of AS Roma,  as it seen Francesco Totti, ‘The Golden Boy’ often dubbed as ‘The Eighth King of Rome’ (L’Ottavo Re di Roma) retire from football.

Roma needed to steady the ship, losing such an influential player in Totti it was time for De Rossi to take over the throne and take the name capitano. De Rossi penned a new two year deal making him become the highest paid player in Serie A.

For all you calcio lovers out there you will know what happened next, Di Francesco was sacked by the club in March 2019, seeing Ranieri reinstated as caretaker manager. His role purely to steady the ship and secure European Football for Roma.

On the 13th May, De Rossi was told that the club he has represented for 18 years will not be renewing his contract. This sent many fans into uproar, their displeasure on how the club handled the situation involving their leader was made explicitly clear.

“De Rossi fills my soul. He’s a millionaire than can go anywhere to relax, yet he chose to come to Boca. When he passes, we need to make the sign of the cross.”

Diego Maradona

De Rossi could have easily decided to continue to play his trade in Serie A or to cash in with a lucrative move to China. Instead, De Rossi has elected to follow his heart, convinced by ex-Roma team-mate Nicolas Burdisso, now a director at Boca, he has made the move that the 12-year-old child inside all of us would, given the choice.

Millions dream of going to the Bombonera, the three-sided arena that rises sharply up out of and towers above the La Boca district of Buenos Aires, just to stand on the trembling terraces. De Rossi now gets to play on the pitch in the middle of it.

“The passion for this club has moved me since I was young,”

De Rossi

At Boca De Rossi will feel right at home. Buenos Aires is a city with a deeply felt connection to its working-class, Italian heritage. The football is tough and uncompromising, so De Rossi’s style of play will endear him to the locals.

This could well be the final chapter in the story of ‘Captain Futuro’ and I am sure it is one which will be followed closely by many from far and wide.

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