De Rossi leaves Boca and retires from football

By Tom Webber 7 January 2020 40
De Rossi leaves Boca and retires from football

Daniele De Rossi has decided to leave Boca Juniors and retire from professional football.

Boca snapped up De Rossi on a free transfer in July after the expiration of his contract with Roma, whose first team he played for across 18 seasons.

The 36-year-old midfielder made a goalscoring debut for the Buenos Aires giants in a Copa Argentina victory over Almagro but only made six more appearances.

However, De Rossi has cancelled his contract with Boca and will return to Italy to be closer to his family.

De Rossi made 616 appearances for Roma, a tally only bettered by club legend Francesco Totti, and 117 for Italy, winning the World Cup in 2006.

Explaining his decision at a news conference on Monday, De Rossi said: "No one in my family has health problems. I want to clarify that for the things that were said on social media.

"I just need to be with my daughter, my family. That's the only thing, I think it's a valid reason at this age. I'm 36 years old and I think that, maybe at 25, it would have been different.

"I had no problem with the executives or with [Boca vice president Juan Roman] Riquelme or with anyone. They treated me with love; they understood my decision.

"When I informed them, they asked me to take a couple of days to think about it, but I had already made the decision.

"Not only did I say goodbye to a club that entered my heart, I said goodbye to a sport that was my job, my passion. It was something that was going to happen soon, not something that was going to happen in 10 years.

"Boca means a lot to me. I won't forget the players, the people I've met here. They welcomed me as a brother, and I won't forget it.

"I find it hard to leave without having left something on the pitch, something important, mainly due to injuries. I hope I've opened up a new address for European players."

De Rossi now plans to become a coach, having agonised over the decision to retire for some time.

"My desire is to be a coach," he said. "Now, I will have a few months of holidays, but I always enjoy being close to football.

"I'll certainly contact a few coaches, travel, meet them, ask them about it. If I don't become a coach, I'll be an executive. I'll certainly do something related to football.

"I didn't make the decision [to retire] from one day to the next. I started thinking about it in October or November. I couldn't sleep.

"It's not easy to leave football. Many times, I thought of carrying on playing, in this wonderful place, with great team-mates who then became friends, but the decision was made.

"I played for two teams I really love. All that will stay in my memory and my heart. The life of a footballer ends – that's how it is."

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Tom Webber

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