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De Rossi Talks Conte and LeBron James in Latest Interview

When it comes to motivation and inspiration, De Rossi casts a wide net.

AS Roma v AC Chievo Verona - Serie A Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Call it a slow news day if you will, but I just can’t stomach another goalkeeper rumor. If you’re excited about the prospect of replacing Alisson with Robin Olsen, then so be it, but for my money if Roma goes that route, they might as well flip all the Alisson cash towards their dream target (Federico Chiesa) and go with Antonio Mirante in goal. Olsen did well enough for Sweden at the World Cup, but if he’s starting in net next month, consider that a step backwards.

Rather than hashing over our backup options in goal, I thought we’d take a look at a rather interesting interview with Il Capitano, Daniele De Rossi. Even before he finally inherited the captain’s armband from Francesco Totti last season, De Rossi was always one of the leaders of this team, with his tenacity and commitment serving as examples for the other ten men on the pitch.

However, now that he is the unquestioned and official leader of this club, his actions and his words carry extra weight, especially with the roster skewing younger. Fortunately for us, outside of splitting Brian McBride’s face open and the Slapadula from last year, De Rossi’s professionalism is seldom under question.

Earlier today, De Rossi shed some light on his motivations, giving us a glimpse at how the sausage is made, so to speak:

De Rossi citing LeBron James, who plays a completely different sport on the other side of the world, as an inspiration is interesting on multiple levels. Not only does it speak to just how small the world is, but it also points to De Rossi’s infatuation with American culture. But De Rossi is absolutely right to look to King James as a model of preparation and commitment; heading into his 16th year in the NBA, LBJ remains the best player in the world, thanks in large part to his work ethic.

In an ironic twist, using James as motivation has, in part, kept De Rossi from making his oft-rumored move to MLS. LeBron aside, there was another, more immediate inspiration in De Rossi’s late career resurgence, former Italy coach and current free agent Antonio Conte.

Several moments have changed me, first of all the one with Antonio Conte. He tells you things to the face and is attentive to preparation. I started working differently with him. At 34, he didn’t say that you should run less than the others.

De Rossi, much like James, has been plying his trade since the early 2000s, and, much like James, has done so under a cavalcade of managers. Since debuting in October of 2001, De Rossi has played under 13 different managers at Roma and a further six with Italy, soon to be seven if he does indeed return under Roberto Mancini, but he always seems to reserve the highest praise for Conte.

De Rossi was reflective when asked about his approach to training at 34-years-old:

Usually, with pre-season, it can be tough – you are away from your family, the work is hard, you don’t get much time off… a lot about it is tough. But as you get older, you try to enjoy it a bit more, to savour it.

You know you are nearing the end, so you appreciate everything more – and perhaps you work even harder too. I am trying to make the most of every moment.

Remarkably, despite all the years, all the miles he’s logged and all the bone-jarring tackles his inflicted and received, De Rossi is still going strong, but that won’t always be the case. There will come a day when De Rossi’s beard looks just a bit grayer and his shot just lacks that distinctive oomph; the days in De Rossi’s career are growing shorter, so let’s be sure to soak in every interview, every pass, every tackle and every minute.

Unless we can convince him to become a keeper! Alisson crisis averted.