A player who looked like he was destined to become a one-club man for the longest time, heads were turned all over the world when this headline broke …
I honestly never thought I would be writing about Daniele De Rossi and Boca Juniors, in fact, I was certain that the mercurial Italian midfielder was follow in compatriot Francesco Totti’s footsteps and remain every-present in the gold and maroon colours of AS Roma. But this game of ours loves to throw up a few surprises, doesn’t it.
Tbh, I struggle to even begin when summing up the talents of De Rossi and just how complete a midfielder he was in his heyday. Actually, much like many who summarise the career of the aforementioned Totti, it’s just such a shame that the Il Giallorossi weren’t able to claim more than their average share of team honours to accentuate on some of the individual talents they’d possessed during their lifetime.
But alas, football really isn’t the fairest of games, now is it?
Doing my best to throw all hyperbole out the window, one must admit that Daniele De Rossi is one of the most well-rounded midfielders of his generation. Capable of dipping in and out of that ‘oh no, let me go and get the ball’ and ‘guys, I’ve got the ball – what should we do now?’ roles in the centre of the park, you could bet your bottom dollar that his 6ft tall, energetic self would be at the heart of anything and everything transitional for his side.
On the ball, he could also play a little bit too. Technically, he was predominantly right-footed, with a penchant for keeping things relatively simple, all before his side’s development to using wingers meant he had to expand his passing repertoire to get the ball to the flanks more quickly. But it all came oh-so naturally to him.
In what would turn out to be a near-twenty year period with Roma, there were multiple reports linking their captain with a move elsewhere. Usually (no surprise here), this would be to the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Juventus – where he would continue the trajectory of top-level honours he was used to – and deserving of.
Yet, as the rumour mill span out of control, and fans everywhere started searching for ‘Daniele De Rossi’ compilations to get a closer look at their ‘new signing’, he remained resolute in his loyalty for his favourite team. Though, unbeknownst to most of us, there was another team who he admired almost as much as his Italian home.
A place you can’t even fly to directly from Rome without making a connection somewhere in between.
Sensing a connection with their working-class supporters and the club’s ‘never say die’ attitude, Daniele De Rossi made the surprising decision to join Argentine outfit Boca Juniors on a short-term upon the expiration of his latest and final deal with AS Roma. Reportedly taking a pay-cut to join, and having been courted to their attention by ex-teammate and local boy Nicolas Burdisso, it seemed the perfect place for him to wind down his extraordinary career.
Earlier on in the article, I waxed lyrical about the technical aspects of De Rossi’s game and how aesthetic his game-play was to enjoy from a neutral perspective. And while I stand by that, you don’t usually become a long-term captain, midfield pivot and national team stalwart without having that other side to your psyche. And if any team appreciates the ‘other’ side of playing football, it’s the fearlessly supported La Boca.
Standing in direct contempt for the ‘better-looking’ likes of River Plate in the revered ‘Superclasico‘ derby, La Boca rejoiced to bring in a player who understood exactly what it meant to play for CABJ. Still, it was hella random for us!