Daniele De Rossi discussed the Coaches he worked with and why he’d like to become a tactician, but reveals Francesco Totti was “melancholy and undecided.”
The new Roma captain sat down for a lengthy interview with the Corriere dello Sport newspaper and you can read Part One here.
“I am really conflicted on my future. I know that I have to start thinking about it, because I’ve seen many of my colleagues reach the closing stages of their careers and they don’t know what to do.
“Totti was an important example for me. I saw him undecided in the final phase and he didn’t seem happy. Along with being by his side, I was also reflecting on his situation. What happened to him last year will happen to me soon enough.”
Totti is now working with director of sport Monchi and team manager Morgan De Sanctis, even if his role at the club doesn’t have a specific title yet.
“Francesco suffered during the past season. This summer he was undecided, and that is understandable, as there has always been this whirlwind around him. He is doing something new, without football boots on his feet, and it’s natural to feel a bit shaken.
“I’ll be honest, I didn’t think he’d adapt so quickly to this new role. It doesn’t matter what his role is: Totti is Totti. I think the suit and tie are like Clark Kent’s costume, he takes them off in a phonebooth and underneath he’s got the Number 10 jersey with captain’s armband.
“I always advised him to finish a year earlier. This was not a pleasant season for him, for the Coach, for us teammates, because it was like when Mum and Dad have an argument at home. I don’t think it was pleasant for Roma fans either.
“We could keep saying: ‘It’s fine, everyone gets along, there are no problems.’ It wasn’t true. This internal battle was pretty obvious. As melancholy as Totti was during his goodbye, which was understandable, I didn’t think he’d go so quickly.”
De Rossi is now 34 years old and has to think about his future as well. His father Alberto is Coach of the Roma youth team, so he has plenty of experience dealing with this side of the sport.
“I am conflicted, because on the one side I’d like to travel, see the world and feel free to make long-term plans. In this job, you are always tied down and I don’t want that to continue happening in future.
“But do I stay at home all day when I’ve never done that before, which could well bring more tension to my family, or would I like to be a Coach? Increasingly, I feel that I would like to coach.
“I’ve worked with tacticians who fascinated me during my career. It’s not about 4-4-2, 4-3-3 or 4-5-1, but being a leader who guides 20 players and they all follow his path. I’d like that. I realise it’s very hard work and stressful, so these doubts do remain and I hope to shake them off with time.”
De Rossi certainly has worked with some of the best in the business, including World Cup winner Marcello Lippi.
“There was a period when I was coached by both Luciano Spalletti (Roma) and Antonio Conte (Italy) at the same time. They are very different managers, both on a tactical level and the way they speak to the players, but they are both respected by their squads.
“Rudi Garcia had some incredible aspects I’d like to take inspiration from as a Coach and the same goes for Luis Enrique. There were some Coaches I did not get along with – well, just one to be fair – and in that case I’d have to remember not to do what he did.”
The not at all veiled reference was to Zdenek Zeman, who famously dropped De Rossi in favour of Panagiotis Tachtsidis.
“I had to think to myself, is it good to be a Coach? The answer is that it’s devastating, very stressful, but yes, it’s really good. In my view, that’s all I could do in football.
“Gigi Buffon is also thinking about what he could do next. He’s a positive, direct and honest person. An incredible teammate, such a motivator and a winner. I think he’d be a great director, hopefully in the Federation.
“He’s someone we cannot lose, just as we shouldn’t have lost Paolo Maldini and Roberto Baggio. Losing Maldini for a Federation is in my view madness and absurd, almost football blasphemy.”