While I'll never forgive Roma for their treatment of Francesco Totti during his "retirement", that sense of impending doom did, if nothing else, give us an entire year to pay tribute to our hero, our idol, and our namesake. I'm not sure I have a management or editorial style around here, but that was the one time during my tenure I really laid out a master-plan: I didn't want anyone...anyone...to best our coverage of Totti's final season. And while we could never pay enough reverence to Totti, I'm quite proud of the work we did that season, covering the highs and lows of Totti's impressive career, attempting to provide context for something that I'm still not sure we fully understand or appreciate; the legacy of Francesco Totti.
I mention this simply because, as much as I'm scared to admit it, we're reaching the end of Daniele De Rossi's illustrious career. While no official word has been given, it certainly seems like both sides are on board for one final go around next season.
Despite his injuries this season, or perhaps because of them, De Rossi's importance to this current Roma side was never more apparent, even if we can't quite quantify his contributions. Whether he's hurling his body into crowds to win an aerial, building play from the back or busting his ass making a last man tackle, De Rossi remains what he always was: Roma's security blanket...a screaming, passionate and sometimes enraged security blanket.
And by defeating Sampdoria yesterday with his...uh...pelvis, De Rossi's legacy grew even greater. Sure, it wasn't exactly the Champions League final, but Roma needed this win in the worst way, and there was De Rossi, in the exact right spot at the exact right moment, just as he's always been.
It was a moment that led Ranieri to call De Rossi the soul of the team, while Samdoria manager Marco Giampaolo hailed his intelligence and nous, but however you sing his praises, make sure you sing them from the mountain top.
Daniele De Rossi isn’t gone yet, but much like Totti before him, there will never be another one, and no matter how many words we dedicate to him, it will never be enough.
So treasure every tackle, every pass, and every celebration because Roma will never be the same without it's heart and soul.