Daniele De Rossi has revealed his idol as a youngster was always former Manchester United player Roy Keane.
The Roma vice-captain, who wears the squad number 16 for both his club and Italy, said that his choice of number was also down to the Irishman.
“He has always been my idol and if I chose to wear the number 16 shirt it’s also because of him,” De Rossi told the Azzurri’s official YouTube channel during a question and answer session.
“There are a lot of players I like, from Guardiola to Lampard, Xavi, Gerrard and many others.
“But Roy Keane is like no other player.”
The 30-year-old also said he is desperate to win a second World Cup this summer and discussed his relationship with club captain and friend Francesco Totti.
“I will do all I can to win the second World Cup of my career. Playing in it is a privilege and something that happens to few players.
“I am obliged to do everything to win a second one.
“Before we became friends [De Rossi and Totti], for me he was a champion who I would go to watch at the stadium.
“Before finishing the season he told me he would be having a month and a half of holidays, while I would be working under the sun and in intense humidity!
“He has given a lot for the national team and it’s right that he should rest. He should have a great season next year.”