This was a dark day for Roma fans, and while you'd expect our souls to be prepared to handle such things, given what we went through with Francesco Totti's “retirement”, there has been no such relief, at least not for me. With Totti it was a slow burn—we knew it was coming even if we couldn't quite admit it—but the suddenness with which De Rossi was stripped from our lives has rocked us all.
This is an incredibly morbid comparison, but it reminds me of the death of my father. Stricken with cancer, I was forced to watch him wither away for three years, and while it was indescribably horrific to endure, I knew, in the deepest recesses of my heart, that it was coming. That elapsed time didn't soften the blow, but I at least had time to reckon with what as coming.
Now, contrast that to a dear friend of mine who lost their father to a freak accident while on vacation, and ask yourself what's worse: watching it happen, watching it drag out day by day, or being completely blindsided, having your life flip on a dime.
A decade has passed since then and I'm no closer to an answer, and while today's events are upsetting, they are obviously lacking real world consequences, but I couldn't help but notice that same dichotomy.
Was Totti's "retirement” any easier to handle because of the slow burn or was De Rossi's ousting worse because of it’s sudden nature?
That answer varies from person to person, but if there is one man on Earth who can quite literally relate to what De Rossi is going through, it's Francesco Totti. Shortly after Roma fucked yet another captain, Totti took to social media to pay tribute to his former teammate.
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Oggi è un giorno triste. Oggi si chiude un altro capitolo importante della storia dell’As Roma, ma sopratutto di Roma...della nostra Roma. In questi anni ne abbiamo passate tante insieme, siamo cresciuti insieme, diventando prima di tutto uomini, poi calciatori, per poi infine diventare genitori. Ma sapevamo che questo momento prima o poi sarebbe arrivato. Voglio solo dirti che sei stato e che rimarrai per sempre il mio fratello di campo acquisito. Ti auguro il meglio in ogni cosa che farai...perché sono sicuro che la farai alla grande, come tutto quello che hai fatto finora. Ti voglio bene Dani ❤ #esistonoitifosidicalcioepoiesistonoitifosidellaroma #torneremograndiinsieme
Roughly translated, Totti's words were poignant and touching:
Today is a sad day. Today another important chapter closes in the history of As Roma, but above all of Rome ... of our Rome.
In these years we have been through so much together, we have grown together, becoming first of all men, then footballers, and then finally becoming parents.
But we knew that this moment would come sooner or later.
I just want to tell you that you have been and that you will remain my acquired field brother forever.
I wish you the best in everything you do ... because I’m sure you will do it great, like everything you’ve done so far.
I love you Dani
I can't really top that, so I won't try, but suffice it to say, the two men to whom Roma meant the most have now been fully and truly betrayed by the usurper, James Pallotta.
Kick rocks, Jimmy. You're not even fit to carry De Rossi's bags.