Roma's 'beating heart' De Rossi moving on after 18 years

Daniele De Rossi (Getty Images)
Daniele De Rossi (Getty Images)

Italy - Captain Daniele De Rossi will bring the curtain down on his 18-year career with Roma at the end of the season after confirming on Tuesday that the Serie A side had decided not to renew his contract.

The 35-year-old former World Cup winning midfielder will play his final game at home against Parma on May 26, but will not be retiring from professional football.

"For 18 years, Daniele has been the beating heart of AS Roma's team," said club president Jim Pallotta said. 

"We will all shed tears when he pulls on the Giallorossi shirt for the last time against Parma but we respect his desire to prolong his playing career - even if, at almost 36, it will be away from Rome.

"On behalf of everyone at Roma, I'd like to thank Daniele for his incredible dedication to this club and ensure him that our doors will remain open for him to return to the club in a new role whenever he wants."

De Rossi told a press conference he only learned on Monday his contract would not be renewed.

"If I had been a manager I would have renewed the contract of player like me," he said.

"I think I'm important to them, but the decision must be taken by the club. My only regret is that we only talked a little this year.

"I hope this (communication) will improve in the future because I am a fan, but I understand it's the club's decision."

De Rossi has spent his entire senior career with his hometown team coming through the club's academy system.

He made 615 appearances and scored 63 goals for Roma in all competitions winning the Coppa Italia in 2007 and 2008, and the Supercoppa in 2007.

He took over the captain's armband from club legend Francesco Totti – the one player ahead of him for Roma appearances – in 2017.

De Rossi is also the fourth-most capped player for the Italian national team with 117 appearances.

He retired after Italy failed to qualify for last year's World Cup, missing the tournament for the first time in 60 years.

De Rossi, who has never lifted the Serie A title having finished runner-up eight times, said his biggest regret was last season's Champions League semi-final defeat to Liverpool.

His final game could be a crucial one for Roma's Champions League ambitions next season as last year's European semi-finalists are sixth in Serie A just one point off fourth place with two games to play.

"I haven't talked to other teams. Until the game against Genoa, I was convinced about the Champions League and I didn't want to distract anyone," he added.

"I've received 500 messages. I didn't check to see if there were any offers. 

"I still feel like a footballer and I want to continue. I'd be wrong to myself if I stopped now."

De Rossi said he could move away from Italy or eventually join Totti as a Roma director.

"Being a director doesn't appeal to me that much, but it would make sense to do that here at Roma," he added.

"I was lucky to have played for the team of my heart."

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