While the Defenestration of Daniele De Rossi is still a fresh, gaping wound in our chest, there's literally nothing we can do to change what has already transpired. So while we’re all still quite, quite upset over Roma's betrayal of De Rossi, we're going to shift our focus to an appreciation of all that De Rossi contributed to the Giallorossi over the past 18 years. And with over 600 appearances in a Roma shirt, there's an awful lot to cover.
Since making his debut in 2001 as a scrawny 18-year-old midfielder, De Rossi's career has covered pretty much the entirety of the human experience. From the joy of his thunderous goals and well struck penalties to the frustration with his, shall we say, mid-match transgressions (the McBride elbow, the Slapadula from last year), De Rossi was exceedingly and unflaggingly himself—a man with combustible emotions—sometimes to his own detriment.
But it was precisely that thin veil, that almost imperceptible layer of pretense, that drew so many of us to him, and it's that same trait that led so many of us to defend him so vociferously over the past 48 hours or so.
Good or bad, what I'll always remember most about Daniele De Rossi, whether he was leading the club to victory or cutting them off at the knees with an ill-timed red card, was how unbridled he was...with everything. Here's a fun party game; place an array of De Rossi still shots on a table and have your guests try and figure out if his screams are coming from a place of joy or pain—did he just win a match in the 90th minute or get sent off for doing something that would make a cage brawler blush?
Of course, the positive outcomes of those unrestrained emotions far outweigh any temporary harm he may have inflicted upon us, and for me there was one single defining moment that made me realize holy shit, this guy is fucking nuts in the best possible way.
And, as it just so happens, it involved my favorite short-term Roma player, and one of the most handsome men to ever grace God's green Earth, Luca Toni.
Prepare yourself. In 3, 2, 1....
The Time Luca Toni Drove De Rossi Into Hysterics
Before we get into the De Rossi celebration, some context. When Roma welcomed Inter Milan to the Olimpico on March 27, 2010 they trailed Jose Mourinho's first place side by a mere four points heading into this crucial round 31 fixture. After taking the lead in the 17th minute thanks to a tap in from De Rossi (pretty killer celebration, too), Roma left the door open for Inter to level the match in the 66th minute thanks to Diego Milito.
With the match moving towards the 75th minute mark, Roma's big winter signing, Luca Toni, struck the match winning goal, pushing Roma within one god dang point of Inter at the top of table. It was a clinical goal from Toni, and important goal for the club as a whole, and a goal that practically turned De Rossi into a stark-raving lunatic.
From the minute the ball budged the old onion net, De Rossi started jumping around like he won both showcases on The Price is Right, then flung himself onto the crossbar like a chimp freed from a sanctuary. It's a shame the camera didn't stay on him longer, but you'll notice how absolutely ecstatic he is, grabbing everyone from Simone Perotta to Philippe Mexes, screaming, jumping, ranting, raving and hugging anyone he could get his hands on, whether they were on the pitch or in a warm-up kit.
There was nothing premeditated about it, it was just a moment of absolute bliss; a man paid millions to play a child's game celebrating exactly like child in their backyard celebrating some imaginary World Cup winning goal.
De Rossi had many moments like this in his storied career, but there was just something about the sight of him there, like that goal meant more to him than it did Toni, that he appreciated the true measure and weight of the goal and true importance of that moment and what it meant for Roma.
It was in that moment that I knew Roma was the team for me, and that De Rossi was the man to whom I would hitch my wagon.