De Rossi: ‘Mourinho brought Roma together, the stadium is full’

Daniele De Rossi highlighted the impressive work of Jose Mourinho at Roma and explained why he decided to end his playing career with Boca Juniors.

The Portuguese coach returned to Serie A after a decade away last summer, signing a three-year contract with the Giallorossi. His debut season was incredibly positive and he guided the team to their first ever European title, beating Feyenoord in the Europa Conference League final. Roma added Paulo Dybala and Andrea Belotti to their squad in the summer, keen to fight for a top four finish.

Speaking on the programme ‘Stasera c’è Cattelan’, De Rossi first discussed how much he misses playing football.

“In these moments, with the stadium on fire, I miss playing a little. I loved playing away, in these stadiums like Napoli, Florence, Milan, where we were quite hated. And in Hungary there was that atmosphere, I grieved a little bit.”

He touched on his decision to end his playing career with Boca Juniors.

“I took my time before deciding. I always said it was my desire, I was always fascinated. I liked playing away from home, not because I didn’t like playing at home, but it was like I had to protect my team and my city. 

“And I respected Boca, then when you go there you discover they are even crazier. A couple of years earlier it would have been perfect. With River we beat each other more than we kicked the ball, the opposing Argentine fans were always picking on me.”

The former Roma midfielder compared Argentinian football to Italian football.

“Argentinians are very similar to southern Italians and Romans, also in origin. They are warm, even more than us, the stadiums are often attached to the players and you hear what they say. 

“But usually we players don’t hear what they say exactly, we understand if they are angry or happy, if they love you or would tear you apart. And if you’re warming up at the Franchi for example you hear everything, even the commas.”

He reflected on some of the coaches he worked with during his playing career and what he learnt from them.

“I’ve had many good ones, modern ones, even if they coached me 10 years ago. I think of Spalletti, the things he told us are still cutting-edge. Capello was another form of football but he taught me a lot, also about management. 

“Conte was perhaps the best from a motivational point of view, he used to bring out things in you that you didn’t even think you had. If he stopped doing that he wouldn’t be him anymore.”

Finally, De Rossi detailed the strong work carried out by Mourinho since his arrival at Roma last year.

“Yes, I don’t know if you realise what he’s done beyond the cup. The stadium is always full with 60,000 fans, whether it goes well or badly, whether he plays against the first or the last in the table. 

“It seems strange to me that this is a coincidence, then what you want between the cup and cheap tickets. But he has brought all the Roma fans together, he must be valued more than the results. 

“Then we expect him to do great things, this year the team looks strong. Will I be at the stadium with Inter? No, absolutely not.”

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