La Repubblica (Matteo Pinci) There are some who already want him to go to America to play against – or maybe join – his friend Andrea Pirlo. Others imagined that he may go to Turin to wear the shirt of the enemy, Juventus. But with 8 months left on his contract, Daniele De Rossi’s priority lies elsewhere: with Roma.
He made that known himself on Sunday night, the disappointment of that useless point gained against Empoli still in his eyes. “I hope I’ll be able to achieve a lot more things with Roma.” It was a statement of intent. Currently though, talks to extend his contract beyond its current expiration date of 30th June haven’t started; at Trigoria they know there’s no rush, they know that whether the midfielder stays at the club or not will primarily be down to what he wants to do, and if he chooses to leave it would be a lifestyle choice rather than for a payday. A lot of people have been knocking on De Rossi’s door, including the 3 big Italian sides. Most of all, it has been his friend Montella who has made it known to him that he’d be very happy to have him at his increasingly Italian Milan. But l’aeroplanino should settle down – at the moment, De Rossi’s intentions match those of Roma.
And that’s only the start: the relationship between them is excellent, Daniele’s rapport with Walter Sabatini was excellent as is his current relationship with Mauro Baldissoni. It will be up to him to decide when to sit down for talks when both parties have decided that they can wait no longer. If the relationship wasn’t exactly ideal in 2012, which made the talks difficult and protracted ahead of his eventual €6.5m contract renewal, now it is very solid. The club have been very appreciative of his recent attitude, in particular the attention he has given the young players (Daniele has gone out of his way to help many of them to manage their nerves when making the step up to the first team) and the self-criticism after the inevitable mistakes (see, for example, his sending off against Porto). Spalletti has been very clear: “I hope Daniele stays here as long as possible.” If De Rossi decides to stay, he would be very happy as well. De Rossi is aware though that his current contractual situation cannot be replicated. “I’ve earned so much over the last few years that the financial aspect is the least of my thoughts,” he explained.
How much will he be willing to give up? At least half of his €6.5m net salary, according to those who know him. The 33 year old’s biggest concern is something else: he doesn’t want the team’s competitiveness to drop. “If I were to leave, I hope that the level of the team stays where it is at the moment,” he commented from the dressing room at Empoli. This may cause him to keep his options open, not committing to Roma when the door to the United States is still open. It is an option that has always tempted him, but right now, with two very young children – the youngest, Noah, isn’t even 2 months old – MLS may be forced to wait (Kansas City have already tried to tempt him with a huge offer, which was turned down). There’s also the suggestion of staying on for one more year as captain, but that would only happen if Francesco Totti (whose tests yesterday ruled out an injury, he should leave for Vienna tomorrow) is really retiring at the end of the season. And are we really sure that this is, in fact, going to be the incomparable number 10’s final season?