We're nearly done with our AS Roma Team of the Decade series, one in which I have been using these introductory paragraphs to set the context: the player's background, career before Roma, achievements with the club etcetera, etcetera, but if you don't know who Daniele De Rossi is or why he is worthy of a spot in our team of the decade, I'm going to kindly ask you tip your server and leave our establishment immediately.
Not only was De Rossi born within the city limits, son to Alberto De Rossi, himself a Roma steward at the youth levels as player and coach, but he never spent a single minute as a senior-level player on loan. From his debut in October 2001 to his final match this past May, he was Roma through and through. That is, until, his heart carried him to Buenos Aires and Boca Juniors.
Despite that sour ending, you can rest assured Daniele De Rossi will have a place on any Roma Team of the Year, Decade, or Century, but since we're closing out the 2010s, DDR earned this honor on the back of arguably the greatest stretch of his career, one that saw him ascend to captain for both club and country, become a hero during Euro 2012 and even topping out as Serie A's highest paid player.
The 2010s were arguably De Rossi's physical peak, and for nearly the entire decade we were witness to arguably one of the most complete midfielders of all-time. With his combination of size, strength and skill, Roma's midfield were consistently among the best in Europe.
During the 2010s, De Rossi made 297 appearances in all competitions, scoring 22 goals and contributing 25 assists, while playing to a +/- record of +88 for his final five seasons with Roma. De Rossi's career, and indeed his position on the pitch, were never really about statistics, but he was without a doubt one of the top midfielders of the 2010s, particularly at the outset of the decade.
Notable Achievements: Euro 2012
I've been trying to limit these sections to feats achieved in a Roma shirt, but given his role and position, there isn't one statistic that jumps out at you. The calendar year 2010 was a good one for De Rossi, as, between the tail end of the ‘09-’10 season and the beginning of the '10-’11 season, DDR scored six goals in all competitions, the best stretch of his career as far as I can tell. Similarly, his rebirth under Spalletti during 2016-2017 saw a spike in offensive output, as he racked up five goals and six assists in all competitions during that magical season.
But I'm going to allow some wiggle room here simply because, if one were to pick one defining moment for De Rossi during the 2010s, it had to be his run at Euro 2012. Even starting with qualification, during which he was appointed captain in the absence of Andrea Pirlo and Gianluigi Buffon, De Rossi was arguably the Azzurri's most critical player. Hell, he even surpassed Francesco Totti as Roma's highest ever goal scorer with the national team after netting against the Faroe Islands in the qualifying rounds.
However, once the tournament began, De Rossi's true worth was revealed. With his three-man back line suddenly beset by injuries, Cesare Prandelli turned to De Rossi, putting the then 29-year-old midfielder in at central defense alongside Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci.
Thanks in part to De Rossi's stellar work on the back line (they conceded only two goals in the group stages), Italy were able to edge out Croatia by one point to advance to the knockout round. With De Rossi now back in his more familiar midfield role, the Azzurri made a surprise run to the finals, bowing out to the three-major-titles-in-a-row La Roja side of Spain.
For his efforts, De Rossi was named to the all-tournament team. While Italy didn't win, this was arguably De Rossi brightest moment of the decade.
Where is He Now?
Regrettably not with Roma. While we'll likely never know the full truth, De Rossi was widely believed to have approached the club with a pay-for-play type of contract that would reimburse him based on the number of matches he played, but, as we all know, that never happened.
With his Roma future stolen from him, the rumor mill had De Rossi joining clubs as varied as Fiorentina, Manchester City and the LA Galaxy. In the end, De Rossi followed his heart to Buenos Aires, fulfilling a long-held ambition to experience the pride and passion of Argentinian football, signing on with Boca Juniors in the summer of 2019, scoring on his club debut no less.
De Rossi has struggled for fitness during his Boca days, but with rumors that he'll extend his stay, he appears content with life in La Bombonera.