Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

De Rossi opts for Roma over Manchester City

The midfielder commits to the Italian capital club, ending speculation of a move to Eastlands.
Daniele De Rossi has signed a five-year contract extension with Roma.
Daniele De Rossi has signed a five-year contract extension with Roma.

It has been a long courtship, with anxious moments, some flirtations elsewhere, but there was no huge surprise in hearing that Daniele De Rossi has committed his long-term future to Roma.

The midfielder has signed a five-year deal that takes him beyond his 33rd birthday and will make him the club's highest earner, with a net annual salary, before bonuses, of close to €6 million (Dh29m).

De Rossi had stalled on the new contract for various reasons.

First, he was driving a hard bargain; second, he rightly imagined he would have alternative suitors.

Once Manchester City, the English Premier League club, made it known that Robert Mancini, their manager, admires the galvanising midfielder and had identified the Italy international as just the sort he wanted to inject some dynamism, as well as toughness into his team, De Rossi had Roma where he wanted them, fearful of losing him and in an auction situation.

"I had one or two sleepless nights thinking of other possibilities," De Rossi said, "but in the end Roma is my love."

Spoken like a true Roman. De Rossi has agreed a deal that may well make him one of those modern rarities, a one-club star.

Like Francesco Totti, from whom he will one day assume the captaincy, he was born in the Italian capital.

Like Paolo Maldini, Milan born-and-bred and a servant to AC Milan for more than 20 years, De Rossi is the son of a former player with the club he joined as a youth.

For supporters, he belongs almost as much as the iconic Totti does.

But just as important a rationale for the new deal seems, genuinely, the hope De Rossi holds that Roma may be on the verge of something better than runners-up medals - he has five of them in Serie A - and last-eight finishes in the Champions League.

Like many there, De Rossi harboured some doubts about the tactical and personnel restyling proposed by the novice head coach Luis Enrique last summer. So he paused on the new contract.

He is now convinced. Though they remain infuriatingly inconsistent, there is a verve about the current Roma team when they hit top gear, as they showed in the thrashing of Inter Milan.

"Luis Enrique was a decisive in my decision," De Rossi said. "He is the best coach I have worked with."

Praise indeed, because in his nine years as a first-team player, De Rossi has had nine different coaches.