Il capitano futuro. I always shiver when I hear that nickname. Listen up, he’s not Roma’s ‘future’ anymore. On the contrary, he’s even risking a disappointing ending of his Roman career. His popularity is downgrading due to upcoming men like Strootman and Nainggolan, two powerhouses in midfield with youth on their side. The title of Capitano Futuro (shivers) has now officially been handed over to Alessandro Florenzi. Mainly thanks to Flo’s everpressence in Serie A: 72 appearances in the past two seasons. Plus 11 goals, some of them simply wonderful strikes. Daniele’s stats since the Great Rudi Garcia Era? 3 goals in 58 matches. Good, but not the ones we were used to back in 2006 or 2010.
After Keita, Dani’s the oldest warrior in midfield. He’s now our Perrotta, our Pizarro. A long-serving member with an unclear future. I’m not saying he’ll leave (or must leave) the capital. But unclear as in: not longer the pillar of this AS Roma. As hard as it may sound for some fans. His name isn’t the first one you’ll write on the chalkboard. For example: Raise your hand if you’d prefer a midfield of Stroot-Ninja-Pjanic or Stroot-Keita-Pjanic over a midfield of Stroot-Dani-Pjanic… I know I would hesistate.
Ethough De Rossi will never reach the status of a certain Francesco Totti, Dani’s special to me. He’s differentthan Totti. Totti is Totti. But back when I started supporting Roma (around 2002,2003) Francé was already a regular in the first team, a superstar. Hell, he already won a Scudetto. But our Daniele, he was still a little shy boy wearing no27. Ironically, he made his debut against a club from my home country, Belgian side, Anderlecht. It was in the Champions League of 2001-2002. An innocent teenager, beardless, no tattoos,… A clean shaven puppy hopping on the pitch. Now everyone screams LUMBERJACK or PIRATE in his direction. My oh my, how things have changed.
Am I putting too much pressure on him? Am I questioning his situation too much? Should I (and we) give him all a breather? Because after all the doubts and criticism he has received, Daniele is and remains a good, sometimes even great, midfielder. Not that long ago we saw glimpses of the good old Dani. 2013-2014 was a succes, his partnership with Strootman was amazing. And Kevin could once again be the key here. His comeback will also boost Daniele. And a leader like Castan in the defence helps as well. So it seems all ingredients are there to make 2015-2016 another stellar season for De Rossi. Form is temporary, class is eternal. It’s all in his hands now. Or feet. Yeah, probaly his feet.
Playing in Rome, in the Olimpico, for AS Roma,it’s different when your name is De Rossi. Radja, Pjanic, Keita, Paredes, … They can all have bad games, they can take it. But for Dani it’s personal. A link with the club only Totti and Florenzi can understand. And out of those three names, Dani undeniably has the most to prove in 2015-2016. At the age of 32, time is running out for him to at least win one Scudetto, like his mentor. So I guess it’s time to back our vice-captain once more. Like we did all the other previous seasons. He needs it, he deserves it.
Because for me, deep down, behind all those tattoos, scars and beards, he still remains that little boy from 2001.