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De Rossi 'fulfilling a dream' by joining Boca Juniors

21:07 GMT+3 26/07/2019
daniele de rossi - cropped
Having considered MLS, Daniele De Rossi says he followed his heart by joining Boca Juniors from boyhood club Roma.

Italy and Roma legend Daniele De Rossi says he is fulfilling a dream by joining Argentinian giants Boca Juniors.

The veteran midfielder was confirmed as a Boca player on Thursday after leaving boyhood club Roma at the end of his contract.

The 2006 World Cup winner was tempted by the prospect of a switch to MLS, with Los Angeles FC said to have been interested in securing his signature once his decision to leave the Italian capital became apparent.

However, the 36-year-old has followed his heart by moving to the Bombonera to play for a club co-founded by Italians at the beginning of the last century.

In a special video released to mark his arrival at Boca, De Rossi said: “My heart is Roma, but I've really liked Boca since I was a boy. 

“For [Diego] Maradona, for the stadium, because I love the stadium, I love the fans, who are passionate.

“It's a club founded by Italians that has made me feel at home, a big club, one you can believe in.

“I'd love to go to America, but to climb those stairs, go out into the Bombonera with the Boca players... that would be a pleasure.

“The most important thing in life is to be able to achieve all your dreams. Thank you, Boca.”

One of the overriding factors that led to De Rossi’s free transfer was the role played by former Roma defender and current Boca sporting director Nicolas Burdisso.

The pair are good friends following their playing days together at the Stadio Olimpico between 2009 and 2014, and as far back as May this year Burdisso admitted he hoped their existing bond would make the decision an easy one.

“He is a friend and I talk to him every day,” said Burdisso. "He has always shown his willingness to come here.”

Despite his early morning arrival time into Buenos Aires’ Ezeiza airport on Thursday, De Rossi was greeted by a large crowd before being whisked away to have his medical.

The player was expected to join his new teammates for training for the very first time on Friday morning before being officially unveiled on Monday.

The Argentinian Superliga kicks off this weekend, with Boca facing Huracan in their first fixture.