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Daniele De Rossi and a Warrior’s Redemption

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An ode to Roma’s beating heart, Daniele De Rossi

AS Roma v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final Second Leg Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

“As the end is drawing near, standing proud, I won’t give in to fear

As I die a legend will be born. I will stand, I will fight

You’ll never take me alive. I’ll stand my ground

I won’t go down.”

- Judas Priest, Blood Red Skies.

Before heading into the article itself, I want to use this paragraph to publicly thank Bren for his patience in the last few months. I had internet problems during the entirety of 2018 and I wasn’t able to write for Chiesa, but Bren was always very understandable and eager to have me back in the fold–he’s a great in and out of the site and he deserves a public acknowledgment. Now we can get started. {Bren’s note: Wholly unnecessary but appreciated, good to have you back!}

Last week’s historic victory over Barcelona is still resonating and for good reason; Roma achieved what can be considered one of modern football’s greatest comebacks and did it with class, quality and, of course, a tremendous amount of cojones. It was a night to remember for the realms of eternity, but there’s one man that truly deserved a match like that in his outstanding career and that was our captain, Daniele De Rossi.

Back in October I wrote an article explaining how DDR was aging and needed to be rotated in order to enjoy the maximum of his abilities in key moments; I can say EDF somewhat did this, but I cannot judge the man’s results, to be honest: De Rossi was a beast that night, showcasing his experience during the entirety of the match and also having calmness to score the penalty Dzeko bestowed upon him.

But this goes a little beyond just the footballing aspect of things and rather focuses on a player that needed a night like this because of how his career unfolded. We all know that Dani is a legend, a true Roman and a warrior that has given his heart, body and mind for the club in multiple occasions, but this was the first time he owned the stage as the undisputed leader of Roma after Francesco’s retirement and, from my point of view, this is something that De Rossi needed: to show his new role as a leader.

It’s also pretty well known how our captain always a moment or two of the occasional madness–he’s passionate footballer and that sometimes got the better of him. The most memorable example also came in a Champions League match last season against Porto where the needed him and it fell flat at the time.

The own goal on the first leg against Barcelona also seemed to doom a player that I think was in need of a match like this; one of those memorable European nights that all the great ones have in their record and that was a true testament of this warrior’s career: aggressiveness, passion, professionalism and even class in 90 minutes that are going to be forever remembered in this club’s memory.

This article is not so much about football facts, but rather of something deeper, something even more meaningful, which is the lesson that sometimes sports can give people the chance to redeem themselves; not just before the eyes of the world, but also to themselves. It was a moment where the football institution that is Roma, and by extension De Rossi, proved that they can do it-–that they can rise to the occasion.

Later years De Rossi has always been in a somewhat disputed role among fans in terms of whether he should be benched or maintain a starting place, but regardless of that, you cannot deny the fact that this will be one of those performances we are all going to remember this man for.

One of those moments where they stepped into the highs of greatness.