Radja Nainggolan, Paolo Maldini and Marco Materazzi are among the stars who have reacted to Daniele De Rossi’s exit from Roma.
De Rossi will end his career-long association with Roma once his contract expires this summer, it was announced on Tuesday.
First to comment was Milan defender-turned-director Maldini, who faced the midfielder several times during his playing career.
“A player’s chapter always closes at some point, but frankly it’s something that surprises me,” he told reporters.
“I didn’t expect it, but he’s always been a very independent soul. He’ll know what he’s doing and what he wants, even if it’s certainly a painful choice, but his love for Roma is certainly not in question.
“As a player he’s always been an captain on the pitch, with great character and technique. He’s one of the most admired footballers.”
Materazzi and the 35-year-old were Italy teammates during the Azzurri’s conquest of the 2006 World Cup...
“Teammate and rival in many battles. Proud of you, beyond football... Daniele De Rossi, a real man,” tweeted the former Inter stopper.
However, Nainggolan preferred to take a swipe at Roma for their treatment of De Rossi, whom he played alongside between 2014 and 2018.
“DDR what can I say: [it’s] history already seen,” he wrote on Twitter, referring to his own controversial departure last summer.
Marcello Lippi was De Rossi’s CT when Italy won the World Cup, and he believes the outgoing Giallorossi captain would have stayed if he had the chance.
“I’m sure if he could, Daniele wouldn’t leave Roma and would’ve ended his career at Trigoria,” he told Radio Capital.
“It’s the impression I get because I haven’t talked to him. Since he still has a great desire to play, he’s decided to find a new path and not be forced to stop.”
Finally, former Roma President Rosella Sensi paid a touching tribute to the Lupi legend.
“It’s a very sad day,” she told Radio 24.
“I’m very sad as a fan, very sad as a person who loves Daniele De Rossi and even sadder after hearing his words.
“This decision shouldn’t have come now, not the way it did, with his bitterness. These are things that make me unhappy and then many memories come to mind, so much time spent together, when I rejected offers for him.
“There are so many feelings, so many emotions and so many human relationships that football luckily grants you.
“I think that with Daniele, a piece of that Roman and that belonging has gone, which makes Giallorossi fans sad because there’s an identity in being born in Rome and playing for the team where you were born.
“There’s a lot of sadness about that. I can’t imagine Roma’s future without him, but I hope the directors decide the best way forward.”