Roma to part ways with club legend Daniele De Rossi
ROME - Club legend Daniele De Rossi is set to leave AS Roma this summer following 18 seasons with the club. His departure, however, has been overshadowed by club’s handling of the matter which sparked outcry amongst Roma’s tifosi.
De Rossi, who joined Roma in 2000, has been a stalwart of the club’s success in the 21st-century and has won the Coppa Italia twice and the Supercoppa once with the Giallorossi during that time.
A World Cup winner in 2006 with Italy, De Rossi will leave after having appeared over 600 times for the club, second only to Francesco Totti who retired in 2017. “Looking back, I would change some specific moments,” De Rossi said, “But overall, I wouldn’t change anything about staying loyal to this team.”
“Roma and I chose each other. There is a lot of love between us, both now and in the future,” he added.
Roma, however, have faced fierce backlash from club supporters over the manner in which they have parted ways with the club’s captain. Many were angered by the club’s decision not to offer De Rossi a chance to extend his contract, which expires at the end of the season, given all he has given to the club over the past two decades, and others questioned the timing of the event which comes with only two games left to play this season.
Roma’s governing structure have also been divided on the issue, departing manager Claudio Ranieri speaking out against the club’s decision saying: “As coach, I would have said that I still want him, because I know the sort of player, man and captain he is. In football, there are so many ways to be a leader, he is the ideal one for the coach.”
Former Roma player Radja Nainggolan, who now plays for rivals Inter Milan, criticised the decision, tweeting “what to say about DDR [Daniele De Rossi]? It’s a story we’ve already seen,” in reference to his acrimonious departure from the club last year which seemed against his will.
Voices of opposition grew even louder when a string of De Rossi's WhatsApp voice notes that seemed to suggest he had even offered to continue playing for the club for free, or for a reduced set fee for each match he could play given his age, began to circulate.
Guido Fenga, AS Roma’s chief executive, has apologised for the club’s handling of the matter and admitted mistakes had been made in Roma’s decision to announce that De Rossi’s contract would not be renewed merely 24 hours after the player had been informed of the decision.
De Rossi will say farewell to AS Roma in the club’s final game of the season, a home fixture against Parma on May 26. Fans will hope the Giallorossi can secure an emphatic victory, both to give De Rossi an appropriate farewell and to keep alive the club's hopes of Champions League qualification for next season which currently hang in the balance.