In the world of hyper football journalism, there exists two types of transfer rumors: those with insider information (quotes/anecdotes from primary or secondary sources) and those where an inspired writer has two dart boards on his/her wall, one with names and one with cities. While the first sort has more credibility, the second is (sometimes) more fun to pick apart. The Daniele De Rossi to MLS rumors are the second sort, so let's take a quick look at the ins and outs of DDR going the way of Steven Gerrard, Kaka and David Villa, among others.
First up, the particulars. DDR, as we all know, is a Roma lifer, having played in the city of his birth since the fall of 2001. While De Rossi just missed the boat on Roma's most recent Scudetto, his football career, for both club and country, isn't short on accomplishments. Danielino was the 2006 Serie A Young Footballer of the Year, the 2009 Italian Football of the Year and was a member of the Euro 2012 All-Tournament Team, and then there is the small matter of his World Cup winners medal from 2006. De Rossi is a unique, accomplished, and well-respected footballer.
Point being, De Rossi's career has been as lustrous as it's been long, which is precisely the point, or so the progenitor of this rumor would have you believe. DDR will turn 32-years-old this summer, and will be a month or so shy of 33 when his contract expires in
2016 2017, at which point, so the rumor goes, he'll spend the Autumn of his career with one of New York's underachieving club teams, Red Bull New York or, more likely, the newly minted NYCFC.
So, as we occasionally do in these scenarios, let's see if this rumor holds water.
Why it Makes Sense
While 33-years-old isn't dreadfully old for a midfielder, De Rossi's manic style of play, combined with the wear and tear associated with 15 year of domestic and international duty, might produce a more precipitous decline in play than we'd typically see with a player his age. Couple that with the absurd wages MLS pays designated players (compared to the rest of the league), and you can see why this sort of move might appeal to De Rossi, much in the same way it tempted players like David Beckham, Thierry Henry and David Villa to cross the Atlantic. What's more, the level of play in MLS has increased dramatically over the past decade, so it's not as if DDR will be a fox in the hen house.
Then there is, of course, De Rossi's stated admiration for life in the United States.
We must draw from American sports. They have a great organisation, a great relationship with their supporters. I'd like to end my career overseas. I want to live in America, and I hope I'll be able to do that
That quote, taken from an interview with the club's TV station, was in regards to De Rossi being compared to NFL players of similar age and stature, but it's right there in print: he wants to end his career overseas and live in America; no equivocation there.
Of course, he continued on to say that he's intrigued by Boca Juniors as well, so take that with a grain of salt, but he is at least intrigued by the notion of entertaining fans outside of Italy, so we can and should take him for his word, no matter how much our heart screams no.
Why it Doesn't Make Sense
I mean, come on. Must I? Seriously?
Sure, De Rossi has had some ups and downs over the past few years, but he is by no means over the hill. Furthermore, many of those fluctuations can be attributed to managerial decisions rather than De Rossi suddenly having lost "it". Then there is the simple matter of money. Sure, De Rossi could probably make somewhere between four and six million dollars in the MLS, but at €6.5m per year, he's already the highest paid player in Italy, so money may not be a decisive factor.
Then there is the simple matter of pride. DDR has been Capitano Futuro for longer than he probably cares to remember, but is he really willing to forgo the chance to truly be the standard bearer for this team? Will he sacrifice the chance to be the leader of this club, to be the man who wills the club to glory once more?And while all Roman legacies will necessarily pale in comparison to Francesco Totti, with the resources now at their disposal, De Rossi has a chance to permanently and exquisitely etch his name into Roman lore, so would he really give that up to chase the proverbial paper in MLS?
Liklihood: 2 out of 10
By all accounts, De Rossi is a man of his word, so I don't doubt his admiration and desire to live and possibly play abroad, but when it comes to AS Roma, one thing is axiomatic; when Romans, true Romans, play for this club, it matters...a lot. To the club, to the fans, to players and to the city. This cannot be measured, weighed or tallied and it must not be trifled with.
I simply find it hard to believe he'd sully that legacy by playing out the string abroad. De Rossi is an impeccable athlete and an intuitive footballer, two attributes that should enable him to thrive well into his thirties, and given how much money he has made, he has neither the footballing nor financial need to leave Roma.