They don’t make them like this anymore.
Daniele De Rossi is Roma born and bred, he has lived and breathed the Giallorossi for the past 18 years.
But after an incredible 616 matches Roma’s ultimate midfield general said goodbye to the fans for the final time.
An emotional farewell match ended with a 2-1 win against Parma and an 82nd minute substitution for one of the club’s all-time greats.
De Rossi is a rare breed in modern football, a player with unwavering loyalty to his hometown club who turned down the opportunities to follow glory to devote himself to the cause.
For the last 17 seasons De Rossi has been ever-present as the hound in midfield, a ferocious presence and a symbiotic name when it comes to Italy’s capital.
Alongside Francesco Totti when someone says Roma, De Rossi is the name that instantly comes to mind.
De Rossi was converted to a defensive midfielder having thought of himself as a striker as a kid and it was in this role that he became iconic in Italy.
A renowned tackler, De Rossi wore 16 on his back in a tribute to his idol Roy Keane – another player from the tough-tackling school of thought.
Despite winning the World Cup with Italy in 2006 and going down as one of his country’s greatest players, De Rossi only ever won three trophies at club level.
He was integral to Roma’s back-to-back Coppa Italia titles in 2007 and 2008 but his lean spells before and after show just how strong his connection to the club is.
Sure, if he could have moved to nearly any club in Europe at some points and won many more trophies but his physical and emotional bond to his boyhood club kept him there.
And of course De Rossi almost literally has Roma in his blood.
His father played for the same club and went on to coach the u-19 side.
De Rossi served as the battleaxe to Totti’s artistry for 17 years before the latter’s retirement saw him eventually be named captain.
He took to the pitch a whopping 616 times before yesterday’s goodbye and Roma’s decision not to offer the 35-year-old a new contract was met with angry protests from the fanbase that knew he had given everything to them.
For a midfield warrior, often a position under appreciated for their impact on the team, De Rossi is widely recognised as one of the best operators in the world at his prime.
He was named the Serie A Young Footballer of the Year in 2006 before his dominant performances led him to the Italian Footballer of the year awar in 2009.
Although not playing for the best club in Italy, De Rossi demonstrated just how good he was on the international level time after time.
He lifted the World Cup in 2006 as a 22-year-old in a squad full of household names.
Then in 2012 he was one of the leaders as Italy made it to the final of the Euros and he was named in the team of the tounament alongside the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Andrea Pirlo.
And so De Rossi comes to the end of his stay at the Stadio Olimpico.
He’s not hanging up his boots so expect to see some trademark studs up tackling (he was sent off more times than any other Italian international) coming to a stadium near you.
A rare example of dedication and commitment in modern football and a genuine leader on and off the pitch, De Rossi is the kind of player that inspires his team to go to war.
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