Daniele de Rossi

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Roma boss pens vivid 3,000-word open letter to fans

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Some fan bases probably wish their owner was as open as AS Roma’s James Pallotta, who has written a few thousand words on the struggles of i Lupi this season.

We can’t attest to how Roma’s supporters feel about Friday’s open letter, but neutrals will at the very least find entertainment in the American billionaire’s strong stance, vivid descriptions, and occasional NSFW language.

[ MORE: 3 key battles in UCL Final ]

Oh, and his defiance, via ASRoma.com:

“I understand the history of almost 3,000 years of Rome and I know how this works. If people think they’re going to drive me out, it’s just not going to happen.”

Pallotta has made no secret of his displeasure with Roma’s season, as the club finished sixth in Serie A and bowed out of the Champions League in the Round of 16.

That’s a far cry from last season, in which Roma came within one goal of stunning Liverpool in the UCL semifinal second leg and steadily rose up the table after a slow start.

This season saw the firing of the manager who engineered that rise, a sloppy handling of the end of club legend Daniele De Rossi’s tenure, and the maddening but necessary departure of a sporting director who Pallotta later claimed “had no Plan B.”

Pallotta, to his credit, is owning it. He’s putting plenty of blame on Monchi — now sporting director of Sevilla — who he brands “a mistake” without explicitly naming him, even in the removal of Di Francesco later in the season.

When things were going sideways, Di Francesco told us he may have lost the dressing room and if we think it’s time for him to go, then he will go without a fight. Di Francesco has always been first-class. He is a true gentleman. He was clearly put in what I think was a tough position this past year and was collateral damage. That’s something that we all regret.

Roma is without a manager now, but all is not lost; Roma finished three points out of third and scored the fourth-most goals in the league. It’s aging roster would look a lot better if Cenzig Under, Nicolo Zaniolo, and Justin Kluivert took the next steps in their development, which makes the next choice as manager even more crucial to the short-, medium- and long-term.

De Rossi pens emotional farewell to Roma fans before final match

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After 18 years with the club, Daniele de Rossi is playing in his final AS Roma match on Sunday before his contract expires.

Ahead of the game, the 35-year-old midfielder wrote a detailed thank you to fans, team employees, and teammates before his sendoff. “Please, let me say thank you to everyone at Roma that I came to know,” he said before beginning his list of appreciation.

First, Rossi credited his playing mentor Damiano Tommasi, who was at the club from 1996-2006 and made 262 appearances for Roma. The midfielder suffered a knee injury in 2004 which saw Rossi break into the team full-time after making his professional debut in 2002. “[to] Damiano, without whom I would certainly have made fewer appearances for this club,” de Rossi wrote.

He also thanks former captain Francesco Totti by saying, “Thank you to Francesco. The captain’s armband I wore was inherited from the arm of a brother, a great captain and the most incredible footballer I have ever seen wear this shirt. Not everyone gets to play alongside their idol for 16 years. Now, with respect, I will pass this armband on to Alessandro [Florenzi]. Another brother, one that I know is equally worthy of the honor.”

De Rossi mentions Davide Astori, the Fiorentina player who passed away tragically in March of last year, saying, “Thank you Davide, I know you will be alongside me for the rest of my life too.” He also thanks Roma academy director Bruno Conti, saying, “[to] Bruno, who saw something special in me and brought me into this club’s fantastic academy.”

Finally, he thanks the Roma supporters, saying, “Thank you to every Roma fan, my fans. Today, at least, I’ll allow myself to call you ‘my fans’ – because I was one of you, out there on the pitch, and the love you have always shown me helped me to keep on doing that. You are all the reason why I chose this city, this life, time and time again. Sunday will be the 616th time I make that choice, the right choice.”

The emotion poured out in the final paragraph of his letter, referencing a tough time in Roma history where the club finished outside the top four for the third straight season and lost in the Coppa Italia final to Lazio. “A few years ago, May 26 became a day where we all thought we would never be able to smile again. I thought that too, at least until I saw a tattoo one fan had inked that read, ’27 May 2013, and yet the wind continues to blow’. I don’t know the owner of that particular tattoo, but I do know that the wind will still blow again on this May 27. I have never felt your affection like I have done in these last few days, it has truly overwhelmed me and touched me to my core.”

“Never have I seen you all united for a cause like you have been for this. But now, the greatest gift you can possibly give me is to leave that pain and anger to one side, and start again in full support of the only thing we all care about, the one thing that comes before everyone and everything – Roma.”

What a legend this man is. Roma sure knows how to produce a type of player not seen much around the rest of the world.

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.

[READ: Premier League Review: Man City, Liverpool, Spurs, Chelsea, Arsenal]

“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.”

De Rossi pulls Roma within a point of Champions League play

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It hasn’t been pretty for AS Roma of late, but somehow they’re still right in the thick of things.

Daniele De Rossi grabbed a 75th minute goal to lead Roma past Sampdoria 1-0 at Stadio Luigi Ferraris, pulling Roma within just a point of the top four.

Well before the late goal, goalkeeper Antonio Mirante was required in the 24th minute to stop a fabulous strike by Gregoire Defrel destined for the underside of the crossbar. That was one of just two shots on target for the hosts, who held 64% possession and ripped off 18 efforts but couldn’t find the net.

With 15 minutes remaining, De Rossi rose high to meet a corner, meeting it with his head and tucking the effort inside the far post for the lead. The headed ball was just out of reach of Edin Dzeko, but thankfully for Roma it snuck past goalkeeper Emil Audero as well. The goal was not just the winner for Roma, but also a big moment for De Rossi as well, as the 35-year-old bagged his first league goal of his injury-plagued season.

Sampdoria thrust forward in stoppage time looking for a late equalizer, and there was a penalty shout as Fabio Quagliarella went down under heavy pressure from substitute Juan Jesus, but replays showed little actual contact and the referee waved off the shout.

The victory for Roma saw them end a three-match winless run and pull within a single point of AC Milan in the final Champions League place. Roma also sits level with Atalanta on points, and while they still have a game in hand, that takes place Sunday with a visit to 3rd placed Inter.

Pellegrini: Roma ‘more aware of our capabilities’ after Champions League run

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Lorenzo Pellegrini may be playing next to a Roma legend like Daniele De Rossi, but the 22-year-old has been around Rome long enough to feel like it’s not a big deal.

In fact, back in Rome for a second-straight season following two campaigns at Sampdoria, he’s ready for a bigger role. Pellegrini was a big part of Roma nearly overturning Liverpool’s UEFA Champions League semifinal lead, and the taste is still in his mouth.

[ MORE: PST chats with Roma’s De Rossi ]

“Last year was my first year and it took some time to settle in a big team,” Pellegrini said, speaking to ProSoccerTalk ahead of the club’s International Champions Cup matches in the U.S.
“That’s normal, I know, but I really hope I can devote myself and do even better. The team did something incredible reaching the semifinal. It will be tough to do it, but this year we are more aware of our capabilities.”
“No one expected us we would go that far, and it just gives us more desire to keep on working and improving. We know now even better how to face certain games, like the first leg at Liverpool. We should’ve played a better game but all-in-all last season gives us the confidence to do it again.”

There’s a lot more work to do in the Roma midfield with Radja Nainggolan off to Inter Milan.

And after playing a season next to De Rossi, Pellegrini is prepared to shoulder more of the burden. After all, he spent some time with the club’s academy, looking up at players of De Rossi’s ilk.

“Daniele is a role model not only for me, but for any young football players,” Pellegrini said. “He is a top player and still playing at this level at his age. He’s a special player and professional. It’s easy to play alongside him. The stats are there. His career is there and he’s a good player to move forward.”

Roma at the ICC

Wednesday: vs. Tottenham Hotspur (San Diego)

July 31: vs. Barcelona (Arlington)

Aug. 7: vs. Real Madrid (East Rutherford)