Rossi: My heart and head said stay
Daniele De Rossi has revealed he was tempted to leave Roma before signing a five-year contract extension with i Giallorossi. The 28-year-old midfielder ended months of speculation about his future by putting pen to paper yesterday on a deal which will see him remain with the Eternal City outfit until July 2017.
"What drives me to stay here, to do my job with so much passion is this team, this city and its people," De Rossi said at today's press conference. "What I desire is here." The Italy international had been strongly linked with a move to the Premier League, with Manchester City reportedly keen to sign him.
"The negotiations have been lengthy and I cannot deny that I had doubts," De Rossi said. "I thought of many things, of alternatives and I spoke to many people during this time. I wanted to stay only if I was welcomed by the fans.
"Last year I saw the love from the fans towards me diminish and the fact that some of them questioned my strength as a player made me think of seeking alternatives," the Italian international revealed. "There was also the thought of ambition, the idea of playing somewhere else, to face the top teams in the world, not that we don't have that possibility here."
"Those things fascinated me and I did speak to other clubs. I was very tempted to see if I had the strength to play elsewhere. But in the end I made a choice not just of the heart but of the head. I have not remained here just to be a tourist in Rome and see the Coliseum. I believe a lot in this new project."
Roma, who were bought by an American consortium headed by Thomas DiBenedetto last year to become the first Serie A club to be foreign owned, appointed Spaniard Luis Enrique as coach last summer. "There is a positive atmosphere in the club," De Rossi said. "It's a new beginning although I don't forget the past.
"Although my love for Roma goes beyond coaches and executives, for me Luis Enrique's arrival has been crucial," De Rossi admitted. "He has re-ignited the spark that each player needs. He is the coach that has made me feel the greatest in all of my life. I am in complete agreement with all of his decisions."
De Rossi, who has played all of his career for Roma, has seen his wages increase to up to €10m per year, including both bonuses and endorsements. Roma general director Franco Baldini confirmed no buy-out clause had been included in De Rossi's new deal. "No buy-out clause has been set in the contract," Baldini said. "Roma has an agreement with the player to own 50 per cent of his image rights."