Veteran midfielder De Rossi to leave Roma at end of season
Roma's Italian midfielder Daniele De Rossi celebrates victory after the Italian Serie A match between UC Sampdoria and AS Roma at Luigi Ferraris Stadium in Genoa, Italy, April 6, 2019 EPA-EFE FILE/SIMONE ARVEDA
Rome, May 14 (efe-epa).- Veteran midfielder Daniele De Rossi is set to close his 18-year-long spell at the Italian side AS Roma when the Serie A league ends in late May, the club said on Tuesday.
The club said 35-year-old, who made his first appearance with Roma in 2001, may not be saying goodbye to professional soccer as he is believed to be exploring options away from his long-time home club.
"A legend leaves," the club said in a statement. “For 18 years, Daniele has been the beating heart of AS Roma’s team,” club president Jim Pallotta said.
De Rossi joined the club he supported as a teenager in 2000, appearing in the club's first-team for the first time a year later before proving himself to be one of the greatest midfielders in the world, the club said.
“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," he added.
“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."
De Rossi made 615 appearances and scored 63 goals for Roma, second in the tally to star forward Francesco Totti who participated in 786 matches and scored 307 goals when he retired in 2017.
The Rome-born player will bid his farewell to Roma fans at the Serie A clash with Parma on May 26.
De Rossi collected 117 caps with the Italian national team, lifted the 2006 World Cup with Italy and helped Roma win the Italian Cup in 2007 and 2008 and the Italian Super Cup in 2007.
"He remains the fourth-most capped player in Italy history, with 117 appearances, and represented the Azzurri at eight major international tournaments – famously lifting the World Cup, alongside Roma teammates Totti and Simone Perrotta, in 2006," the club said.
"The combative, inspiring midfielder will always remain synonymous with Roma, the club he has unfailingly represented with both class and distinction throughout his playing career," it added.