As Roma fans we’ve become all too familiar with farewells. Players are often sold off to the highest bidder after a couple of seasons in order to balance the budgets and make a plusvalenza. Alisson, Radja, Salah...the list goes on and on. However, as unceremonious as those market mandated exits were, some farewells mean more.
Unfortunately, Roma had to bid farewell to two men this decade whose names became synonymous with the club over the years: Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi. It was one of those things we knew would eventually come, but we just couldn’t bear the thought of. Father time stops for nobody, not even greats like Totti and De Rossi.
When we had to bid farewell to Totti at the end of 2017, we had time to come to grips with the fact that ‘Il Capitano’ would be hanging them up forever, but it was widely believed that the 2016/17 season would be a farewell tour of sorts for Totti. However, the way things went down with De Rossi were a complete shock.
With De Rossi’s contract set to expire at the end of the 2018/19 season, it was assumed that a renewal would be in the works. Sure, ‘Capitano Futuro’ had some physical woes that season, but he could play at a high level when healthy. De Rossi was no longer a 30+ match player, but he was the heart and soul of an otherwise heartless and soulless Lupi side. The player expressed his desire to return, so surely it would happen. At least that’s what logic dictated at the time.
Instead, we found out with just weeks left in the season that Roma decided not renew De Rossi’s contract. It was shocking, it was as if someone had ripped the heart out of thousands of Romanisti chests at once. We barely had time to let reality soak in before De Rossi took the Olimpico pitch for the last time.
For me, as sad as it was to see Totti go, I was as ready as possible. I had a whole season to mentally prepare myself to see our beloved captain take a curtain call. With De Rossi, there was no preparing for it. I’ve always loved Totti, but for me, De Rossi was always my favorite. And the way events played out made the whole situation seem surreal.
If Totti was the emperor of Roma, Danielino was a Roman general whenever he stepped onto the Olimpico pitch. He would always fight tooth and nail for the crest and giallorossi colors. His grinta was unparalleled. So often he would come up with a crucial crunching tackle when Roma needed it most. His leadership was unmatched.
I won’t rattle on and on about the situation any more. What’s done is done and we’ve typed countless paragraphs about the whole thing. Nevertheless, as I see this current Roma growing, I can only hope that one day we will be faced with a similar situation, one where we will have to bid adieu to two more club legends.
Maybe come the 2030s we’ll be able to say we were fortunate enough to watch Lorenzo Pellegrini and Nicolò Zaniolo lead Roma to glory for more than a decade. Now, wouldn’t that be something. But for now, we can only reminisce about Totti and De Rossi, so if you feel like shedding some tears you can re-watch ‘Capitano Futuro’s’ emotional farewell.