Yesterday was an historic and emotional day for Roma supporters. With the Olimpico bursting at the seams, tens of thousands of fans from all over the globe showed up in the pouring rain to witness Daniele De Rossi's final stand in a Roma shirt. And while Roma's slim Champions League hopes went to dust pretty quickly, there was still cause to celebrate. Daniele De Rossi, perhaps the most fervent Roma fan on the planet, went out a winner thanks to Diego Perotti's late goal.
However, lost amid all the chants, the waving flags, the DDR 16 placards and, naturally, the tears was a familiar sight: Daniele De Rossi busting his ass, wiping out attacks and creating chances from the middle of the park.
In his final match with Roma, De Rossi turned in 81 stellar minutes, taking 70 touches, completing 97% of his 61 passes, dished out three key passes, hit on five of six long balls, made two interceptions and cleared two balls. In a word, it was vintage De Rossi, and it showed that, even at 35-years-old, DDR can still get the job done.
But, for some unknown reason, James Pallotta and Franco Baldini refuse to acknowledge that fact, treating the Roma icon like he was some day laborer just passing through town.
Of course, to men more learned and rational than Pallotta and Baldini, a player like De Rossi is one to be sought out not cast aside. So, as one would expect, several clubs from places as varied as Manchester to Miami are reportedly keen on giving De Rossi a second home.
But which way will the wind blow De Rossi? Let's take a look at his rumored options.
Option #1: Stay "Retired”
De Rossi will soon turn 36-years-old and recently admitted that, during the past few summers, he's considered walking away from the game. However, after spending a few weeks on the beach relaxing, De Rossi got “antsy” and ultimately decided to continue playing.
Of course, thanks to the sage wisdom of Roma's leadership, De Rossi will no longer have an outlet through which he can channel that antsy-ness. And if his beautifully penned letter last week or yesterday's touching tribute didn't clue you in, this guy LOVES Roma, and much like Francesco Totti before him, the thought of pulling on a different shirt might be too much to bear for De Rossi.
If that is indeed the case, taking a year off to relax before entering the coaching world woudn't be too far fetched.
Option #2: The Pep Guardiola School of Managing
It wasn't long after De Rossi was forced out by Roma that folks began speculating about his next move, one that, presumably, will involve managing at some level. And almost immediately, De Rossi was connected with his former teammate and current best-manager-in-the-world Pep Guardiola. According to these rumors, De Rossi would move to City not as a player but as an apprentice of sorts, learning the managerial ropes under Guardiola before finding a head coaching job of his own.
This option necessarily assumes that De Rossi is ready to forgo his playing career, and if that is indeed the case, I think most Roma fans would be okay with his brief sojourn away from the capital if it meant learning at the feet of the best in the business before hopefully taking the Roma job once Gasperini is sacked sometime in 2021.
Option #3: Join Burdisso's Boca Juniors Side
Oof, as a casual Boca fan, I must admit this does intrigue me, but as we mentioned at the outset, this presupposes that De Rossi could stomach playing anywhere but Roma. However, for the sake of this argument, let's assume his sense of adventure wins out and he makes the move to Buenos Aires.
As currently constructed, Boca's midfield is incredibly young, featuring only two players over 23-years-old, so it's not hard to imagine DDR taking on the caring veteran role, mentoring the likes of Nahitan Nandez and Agustin Almendra. And while they're not midfielders, De Rossi would see a couple of a familiar faces in Carlos Tevez and Mauro Zarate (which would be very interesting to say the least).
Buenos Aires, with its European charm, not to mention the chaotic atmosphere inside La Bombanera, would make for a somewhat easy transition to Argentina for De Rossi, as would the vitriol between Boca and River, mirroring Roma and Lazio's sometimes tense relationship. Similarly, De Rossi could scratch his itch for Champions League football if Boca remains in the Libertadores hunt.
Plus, we already know he looks good in Qatar Airways shirts.
Option #4: Major League Soccer
With multiple clubs presumably interested in bringing him stateside, we'll break this one down into further sub options
Sub-option A: Los Angeles Galaxy
De Rossi and Zlatan, need I say more? The Galaxy are currently third in the Western Conference and would presumably love to pair De Rossi with Jonathan Dos Santos in their double pivot. LA has a pretty steady history with European retirees and an intense local rivalry of their own with LAFC, so De Rossi might take to life in the City of Angels quite well.
Sub-option B: New York City Football Club
NYCFC may have some of the best fan logo/signage in MLS, but currently mired in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, the team is atrocious, so it’s not hard to imagine De Rossi immediately slotting into their lineup. NYCFC has also played host to another Italian legend, Andrea Pirlo, so De Rossi would, if nothing else, have some inside information before signing on the dotted line. This City is also owned by that City, so De Rossi could play out the string in Yankee Stadium before taking that coaching internship with Pep.
Sub-option C: Inter Miami
David Beckham's new glamour project, Club Internacional de Futbol Miami (known simply as Inter Miami) have an incredibly dope crest, and, like most things Beckham-related, should receive ample media attention. Bringing in an international star like De Rossi would be a coup for this new project, but with the team waiting in the wings for another year, it would mean De Rossi would have to burn precious time before Inter Miami begin play in the 2020 season. Playing in MLS is one thing, but suiting up for an expansion team in MLS is quite another, so De Rossi would have to be prepared to lose...a lot.
Obviously, the decision is De Rossi's and De Rossi's alone, and while we can hope for some 11th hour Qatar influenced change of course from Roma, odds are De Rossi's Roma career is well and truly done. There is a part of me that suspects De Rossi will be tempted by the retired life and won't entertain the thought of suiting up for another club, but given all he's done for Roma and how much he loves the game, we can't really fault him for choosing another path abroad.
James Pallotta denied De Rossi the honor of dictating his own exit, so whatever De Rossi chooses to do next, I'll be rooting for him the whole way.