Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
Daniele De Rossi is staying at Roma.
Daniele De Rossi is staying at Roma.

Daniele De Rossi’s loyalty to Roma raises questions

Do not count on Daniele De Rossi winning many headers for Roma this season - his halo will probably get in the way.

Do not count on Daniele De Rossi winning many headers for Roma this season - his halo will probably get in the way.

The midfielder has been hoisted on to a pedestal this week for his very public rejection of a big-money transfer to Manchester City.

In a speech that could have been penned by Aaron Sorkin, he told a media conference: "I'm staying for this team, for the affection of the fans, because I am a Roman and because I believe in this project." (Violin music swells, assembled hacks rise to applaud, cut to training montage ...)

Football embraced this Hollywood moment because, after weeks of unfavourable comparisons to noble Olympians, it needed one.

This triumph of hometown steadfastness was apparently the antidote to the mercenary drifting of players such as Emmanuel Adebayor, the former Arsenal striker whose signing to bitter North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur (albeit via Manchester City) was so unsurprising that it was barely discussed.

Such a rosy view of De Rossi's motives is naive, to say the least.

Firstly, it is easier to reject the riches of Manchester City when you are already the highest earner in Serie A, and your contract reportedly ensures you will remain so. Footballers' wage demands are often motivated not by a desire for the cash itself - which will make no material difference to their lifestyle - but a desire to top the pecking order.

A move to Etihad Stadium might put a few more euros into De Rossi's bank account but his top-dog status would be lost. These things matter.

Secondly, De Rossi's status at Roma is all but guaranteed. With ten seasons under his belt and a father, Alberto, on the coaching staff, they must print out the blank teamsheets with his name already inked in.

The fans call him Capitan Futuro, indicating his standing as heir to Francesco Totti, and hold aloft giant banners proclaiming "De Rossi Non Si Tocca", meaning "De Rossi Is Untouchable".

It takes a brave man to swap all that for the squad rotation of Roberto Mancini.

Thirdly, De Rossi is fighting a legal battle for custody of his daughter. One cannot imagine a move to Manchester would help his case.

None of these issues make him a bad person, by the way. Who among us does not value status, job security and a happy family life?

The point is that the hallowed title of "One-Club Player" does not necessarily indicate a purity of soul which others do not possess.

It is a rarity, yes, but that says more about the nature of football than the men who play it. Very few clubs can afford to keep a player if another outfit is determined to sign him (Everton and Wayne Rooney spring to mind), and very few managers stick around for long enough to create a stable environment for players.

For ever Luka Modric, the brilliant Spurs player who simply wanted more money and glory at Madrid, there are many more Michael Dawsons - hardworking and loyal players who find themselves surplus to requirements.

For every Steven Gerrard, whose loyalty to Liverpool has cost him countless Premier League medals, there must be dozens of players who would have loved the chance to show such character, to be a living legend among fans, to be woven into a club's fabric, to never have had to return home and tell the family: "Pack your bags, kids, we are moving to Sunderland."

You praise One-Club Men like De Rossi if you like but think carefully before giving them a halo. It can blind both the wearer and his devotees.

I'll save my admiration for those rootless drifters. It looks like far harder work.


Back to the top

More articles

Editor's Picks

 An tenant in the Al Barsha area of Dubai has been sent a non-renewable contract by the landlord. Randi Sokoloff / The National

Dubai landlord refuses to pay back Rera fees after losing rent case

Keren Bobker helps a tenant who wants to know how to reclaim his RERA case fees and who has also been sent a contract with a “one-year nonrenewable” note.

 A Brabus Mercedes 6x6 Sports Utility Vehicle is readied for display during Auto China 2014 in Beijing, on April 20. Adrian Bradshaw / EPA

In pictures: Auto China 2014 exhibition

Leading automakers have gathered in Beijing for the kickoff of China’s biggest car show, but lacklustre growth and environmental restrictions in the world’s largest car market have thrown uncertainty into the mix. More than 1,100 vehicles are being showcased.

 A customer looks at a large mock-up of videogame console Game Boy.  Yoshikazu Tsuno / AFP Photo

Nintendo’s Game Boy at 25: hand-held legacy lives on

Nintendo’s trailblazing Game Boy marks its 25th anniversary Monday with the portable device’s legacy living on in cutting-edge smartphone games and among legions of nostalgic fans.

 Ashish Nehra of Chennai Super Kings bowls to Kings XI Punjab at Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi. Ravindranath K / The National

Hard-hitting Chennai not deterred by opening loss in IPL

But some questions remain about the team's attack ahead of Monday's match against Delhi Daredevils in Abu Dhabi, writes Osman Samiuddin.

 A projectionist takes a break in the projection room at Ariana Cinema in Kabul, Afghanistan. Going to the movies, once banned under the Taliban, has become a popular form of entertainment in Kabul, but women and children rarely take part. All photos by Photo by Jonathan Saruk / Reportage by Getty Images

Afghan cinema: Forbidden Reel

The lights go down and the projector whirls into action as Sher Mohammed, 35, begins his routine, bouncing back and forth between two projectors, winding reels, and adjusting the carbon arc lamps inside the projectors.

 Business class seats inside the Emirates Airbus A380. Chip East / Reuters

In it for the long haul: flying 16 hours with Emirates to LA

Our executive travel reviewer tries out the business class offering on Emirates' longest A380 route - and finds time passing quickly.


To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National