It’s Daniele De Rossi’s birthday, and it’s a special day in the city of Rome for the club legend, but he was on his way to Manchester United until two stars intervened.
When fans reminisce about the greatest and most devoted players to have ever played for Roma, Daniele De Rossi is discussed in the same breath as Francesco Totti and Giuseppe Giannini.
However, the Italian midfielder has been linked with a move to the Premier League, notably Manchester United, on numerous times. De Rossi retired after 616 games for Roma over 17 seasons. He had a brief stint with Boca Juniors before retiring, but he might have easily departed earlier.
Sir Alex Ferguson wanted to sign the Italian enforcer for many seasons, but especially after he helped Italy win the World Cup in 2006. However, Rossi stated that he was frightened off by the prospect of competing alongside Roy Keane and Paul Scholes.
There weren’t many better midfielders in the world during De Rossi’s prime, but the Italian had two rather good alternatives at United. The Roma icon was linked to United for years and Manchester City once they were taken over in 2008, but he chose to stay loyal.
De Rossi’s sole option was to join United, and in an interview with Sky Sports, he stated that he would have loved to play for the Red Devils. But there were two guys who prevented him from joining Ferguson’s team.
“I’ve loved United since I was a child,” De Rossi stated. “It was the right decision not to go to Manchester since there were Keane and Scholes, two outstanding players. It was my strong goal to attend Boca Juniors.
“I never intended to leave Roma, but at Boca I felt like a god.” De Rossi’s interest in joining United may have stemmed from Roma’s 7-1 defeat to the Red Devils in the Champions League in 2007, with the Italian scoring the solitary goal.
However, De Rossi is glad he stayed and became a legend, and he has indicated a wish to return to Rome as a coach. “I took a football road that is not unique, but it is unusual,” he added.
“It’s not every day that you get to play on a squad for 20 years. I can’t see doing the same if I become a coach; no coach lasts that long. I want to coach Roma, but first I need to become a coach, and there is a growth route that all rookie coaches require.
De Rossi would be welcomed with wide arms at Roma, and his leadership abilities as a player have positioned him for management. They are currently managed by Jose Mourinho, although a coaching position could be provided.