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Roma

De Rossi 'not over the moon' to end career-long Roma stay

17:17 EAT 14/05/2019
Daniele De Rossi
The Serie A club's long-time captain, who is set to leave the club at the end of the season, has strongly indicated that he wanted to stay for 2019-20

Daniele De Rossi is "not over the moon" to be ending his career-long association with Roma at the end of the season.

One-club man De Rossi has played 615 games in all competitions for Roma, behind only former team-mate Francesco Totti in Giallorossi history.

The 35-year-old, an eight-time Serie A runner-up with Roma, does not intend to retire and is expected to move from Italy for the last years of his playing career.

De Rossi confirmed he would have preferred to stay at Roma, who offered him an off-the-pitch role, despite only starting 14 Serie A games this season.

"Roma and I chose each other. There is a lot of love between us, both now and in the future - even if it will be in another form," he told a news conference on Wednesday.

"Don't bet against seeing me in with the fans at a few away games, having a sandwich and a beer and cheering on my friends.

"Looking back, some specific moments I would change. But overall, I wouldn't change anything about staying loyal to this team. If I had a magic wand, I would have put a few more trophies on the mantelpiece.

"I realised the decision the club was going to take regarding myself. I'm almost 36 and I know how football is, but I didn't want to distract from our European race. I thank the directors for their offer - I respect it and appreciate it, but I still feel like a player.

"I don't agree that the decision should have been mine alone. The club exists to make these sort of decisions, alongside the coaches. Someone has to make that ultimate call.

"Eventually I would like to be a coach. At this point I don't see myself becoming a director, but at Roma a role like that would have some meaning. I need to go away and study, to learn - it will be a long journey.

"I'm not over the moon, but I accept the decision of the club. I have no resentment towards that. We never spoke about money: that was not the crux of the matter."

Roma's chief executive Guido Fienga accepted the club left it late to discuss De Rossi's future with the club's captain.

"I apologised to Daniele, on behalf of the club, for not speaking to him sooner - it has been a problematic season," Fienga said.

"The club is aware of the mistakes we've made, and we are reflecting on that. But we appreciate the way Daniele has accepted the decision."

Roma will be seeking a new head coach for 2019-20, as well as a captain to succeed De Rossi, as Claudio Ranieri has confirmed he will not continue.

With two games of the Serie A season to play, they are sixth in the table and three points adrift of Atalanta in the final Champions League qualification place.