Roma legend Daniele De Rossi “worked with some of the 10 best Coaches in the world, Luciano Spalletti and Antonio Conte,” and is planning his future as a tactician.
“I have thought about a future as a Coach. I see so many players who say they’d never do that and want to spend the rest of their lives on vacation, then after six months they’d do anything to work with a team even in Serie C. I, on the other hand, won’t rule it out at all.
“I’ve been fortunate enough to work with two of the 10 best Coaches in the world: Luciano Spalletti and Antonio Conte. The third is Luis Enrique.
“I played alongside Pep Guardiola and, if I were to get a job on a bench, I’d ask him to visit so I could watch and learn from his training sessions.
“I would really like to be a Coach. Not straight away, but at the right time it would interest me. I feel good and for a year or so I’ve felt like a real player again, one at a high level.
“Before that, my performances had dipped and I started to feel my body couldn’t handle Italian and European football at a certain level. Then my abilities, the Euros with Conte and the work done with this great squad by Spalletti made it all seem easier.
“I am not a Lionel Messi who can decide results by himself, but if I am in good shape, then I can make the difference. I need to be in good physical shape to play my football, but also require a team that supports me. I am a cog in the machine.
“When you reach a certain age, you think about when you’re going to stop. There are those who want to finish early, others at age 40: I am thinking of somewhere in between. I want to end my career with the utmost dignity.
“If I see that I am not in acceptable condition and can’t keep up with my teammates, then I’ll stop, but not as some sort of self-flagellation – I’ll just accept the situation. Today I still feel strong. I feel like a real player.
“If I still approached the game the same way as I did when I was 25 years old, then that would be worrying. I don’t celebrate a goal by ripping my shirt like Hulk any more… I don’t know if I’m better or worse now, but I am a different player. I was more explosive then, but now much sharper and with more quality. That’s experience.
“I will admit that at times I didn’t deal with my love for Roma very well, but it’s also not easy to control such strong emotions. When you score a goal, everything explodes.”
De Rossi turns 34 in July and admits he’s not entirely fond of the modern side of football, or football players.
“When we started out, it was all different, that was 20 years ago. Now a 20-year-old will get into the first team and have more Instagram followers than Messi. When I was young, the older players would say ‘it wasn’t like in my day’ – that’s life and it always will be.
“Mind you, some of them irritate me too. When I see them do live Instagram videos from inside the locker room before a game, I’d like to take a baseball bat to their teeth… But they’re 18 years old and in 20 years’ time they will find themselves complaining about the youth of today.
“At times we players are a bit obvious with the cliché of ‘what we do isn’t really work, the real heroes are those who get up at 5am to go to work.’ All true, but that’s not going to change anything, is it?
“You are paid by a private company that through your performances gets a certain amount of revenue. It’s an investment like any other.
“Do players earn too much? Yes, but it depends how you look at it. If you were born in America and played baseball, you’d probably earn even more.
“Again, you ask, do we earn too much? Yes. Do we earn too much considering the importance of what we do? Yes. Was it easy earning this much? No.”