Daniele De Rossi admits Francesco Totti’s retirement puts “more responsibility on all our shoulders” at Roma. “It’s an honour to be considered a symbol.”
This will be the first campaign in 25 years without Totti as part of the squad, though it’s the 16th for De Rossi.
“My first pre-season training camp was in 2001-02, straight after Roma won the Scudetto, so there was such enthusiasm,” De Rossi told Roma Radio.
“I’m proud to still be here and in good shape physically. I do think back and realise how ‘old’ I am in football terms. It makes you feel like rushing, as time is running out, so I tell the younger players to enjoy every minute and realise being a professional footballer is something unique.”
De Rossi was always nicknamed ‘Future Captain’ and now he finally inherits the armband from Totti.
“We are all in a way ‘widowers’ of our historic captain. I was largely the captain last season, because it was normal that Francesco didn’t play as much. Not much changes on the field, but it does change in that we’ve lost a symbol who brought people to the stadium.
“It puts more responsibility on all our shoulders, for me in particular. It had to happen sooner or later, we are not eternal, even though Francesco seemed as if he might be.
“It’s an honour to be considered a symbol of Roma now and I worked hard to become someone important for the fans. I never felt the pressure that much, but at the age of 34 I need to find a balance around my fiery passion for Roma, so the armband should help me in that respect.”
There are other changes at the Giallorossi camp this summer, with Coach (and De Rossi’s former teammate) Eusebio Di Francesco taking over.
“It is strange to have him as my Coach, but the fact I know him is only a slight advantage. I am a player like all the others, we have to respect the Coach.
“I’ve worked in the 4-3-3 system many times, probably more than with any other from…