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Daniele De Rossi to Leave AS Roma After 18 Years

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistMay 14, 2019

PORTO, PORTUGAL - MARCH 06: Daniele De Rossi of AS Roma looks on prior to the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 Second Leg match between FC Porto and AS Roma at Estadio do Dragao on March 06, 2019 in Porto, Portugal. (Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

AS Roma captain Daniele De Rossi will leave the club at the end of the season, bringing an end to his 18-year stint with the Giallorossi. 

The club announced the news on Tuesday, adding the midfielder will not retire but instead "pursue a new adventure away from Rome." Club CEO Guido Fienga told reporters his contract will not be renewed, per Football Italia:

footballitalia @footballitalia

#ASRoma CEO Guido Fienga: "Yesterday I met Daniele & told him about the club's decision not to renew his contract. I expressed a desire for him to stay in a different role. Whenever he wants, he can accept this proposal"

De Rossi spoke to the press later in the day, explaining he's not ready to retire:

AS Roma English @ASRomaEN

De Rossi: "I realised the decision the club was going to take regarding myself. I'm almost 36 and I know how football is, but I didn't want to distract from our European race. I thank the directors for their offer - I respect it and appreciate it, but I still feel like a player." https://t.co/xHpAVOcEaa

Fienga apologised to the club legend for not approaching him sooner, and De Rossi admitted he wasn't happy with the decision:

AS Roma English @ASRomaEN

De Rossi: "I'm not over the moon, but I accept the decision of the club. I have no resentment towards that. We never spoke about money: that was not the crux of the matter." https://t.co/iq1LXpDZWg

Per Football Italia, he also took a jab at the club's notion he would be a great director:

footballitalia @footballitalia

De Rossi: "They say I'd already make a good director. If I was an #ASRoma director, I'd have renewed the contract of a player like me!"

The 35-year-old had been a one-club man up until this point, making 615 total appearances for the Giallorossi. That number placed him second on their all-time appearance-makers' list, behind the legendary forward and previous captain, Francesco Totti.

The club shared this video on Twitter to celebrate the gritty midfielder's time in the capital:

AS Roma English @ASRomaEN

Daniele De Rossi, Romanista. 💛🐺❤️ https://t.co/AXSvYgwMWB

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Roma president Jim Pallotta spoke about his departure and what he has meant to the club:

"For 18 years, Daniele has been the beating heart of AS Roma's team.

"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 ensure him that our doors will remain open for him to return to the club in a new role whenever he wants."

His final match at the Stadio Olimpico will be against Parma on May 26, per sports writer Adriano Del Monte:

Adriano Del Monte @adriandelmonte

💔 Daniele De Rossi to confirm his 18 year Roma career is over at season’s end in a press conference later today. Intends to continue playing elsewhere. Final match: Roma-Parma, May 26 😪 https://t.co/9vxpdaFhbA

De Rossi made his senior debut in 2001 in a UEFA Champions League match against Anderlecht, and emerged as one of the team's top midfielders in the following seasons. He inherited the captain's armband ahead of the 2017-18 season following Totti's retirement.

De Rossi and his father explained their passion for the club a few years ago:

While he has spent nearly two decades with the senior team, major silverware has mostly eluded him in Rome. He won the Coppa Italia twice with Roma, in 2007 and 2008, and beat Inter Milan to the Supercoppa Italiana in 2007, scoring the only goal in a 1-0 win.

His biggest on-pitch success came as a member of the Italian national team, winning the 2006 World Cup.

Roma's current vice-captain is Alessandro Florenzi, so it is likely he will take the role permanently next season. 

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