De Rossi to leave AS Roma after 18 years

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Another chapter will close this summer as an AS Roma legend bids farewell.

The Italian club announced on its website that club legend and captain, Daniele De Rossi, will leave the club this summer at the age of 35. De Rossi is still looking to continue his club career, but AS Roma has decided not to offer him a new contract.

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“For 18 years, Daniele has been the beating heart of AS Roma’s team,” club president Jim Pallotta said in a statement. “From his debut in 2001 to taking on the responsibility of the captain’s armband, he always represented the Roma fans on the pitch with pride as he established himself as one of the best midfielders in Europe. 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 assure him that our doors will remain open for him to return to the club in a new role whenever he wants.”

If former teammate Francesco Totti was the soul of Roma, then De Rossi was certainly the heart. Since making his first team debut in 2001 and Serie A debut in 2003, De Rossi has been a mainstay in the Roma side. Whether against big clubs or small, De Rossi’s determination, drive and tenacity in central midfield was always on display.

Sometimes, he went a little too far. For most Americans, De Rossi is probably best remembered for his vicious elbow on Brian McBride in the 2006 World Cup, during the U.S. Men’s National Team’s 1-1 draw with Italy. After sitting out the next match, De Rossi played a key role on the way to Italy winning the World Cup.

Unfortunately for De Rossi, he’ll leave Roma without winning a Serie A title. having played in an era of AC Milan, Inter Milan and then Juventus dominance in the league. Roma did win two Coppas Italia with De Rossi, in 2007 and 2008. However, like Steven Gerrard, De Rossi leaves as a legend without having lifted league silverware.

Like Totti, a one-club man, De Rossi made 615 first team appearances in all competitions for Roma, scoring 63 goals during his 18-years with the club.

What’s next for De Rossi? Not even he knows, but he could head to another club in Italy, perhaps move to England for one last season, similar to Estaban Cambiasso’s time at Leicester City, or move to the Middle East, East Asia or the U.S. However, it’s unlikely that an MLS club would pay top dollar for De Rossi at this stage of his career, where injuries have kept him off the field for long stretches.

“I have not yet decided where I will play, but I feel like a footballer and I want to continue playing,” De Rossi said at a press conference. “I have never regretted having dedicated my career to Rome.”