Daniele De Rossi surprised many when he joined Boca Juniors, but insists “it was obvious to those who know me well. It’s not so very different to Roma.”
The midfielder was tempted to retire, like Francesco Totti, after Roma decided not to offer him a new contract, but is starting a new and exciting adventure in Buenos Aires.
“I was glad to hear that my work and career had been appreciated, particularly as I was called to Boca by Nico Burdisso, who I’ve known for many years,” De Rossi told the official Boca Juniors website.
“This is a completely different world. At the age of 36, I have to think carefully about my decisions, but from the start everyone who knew me realised all roads would inevitably lead to be playing for Boca.
“Even though I had other offers and it was good to consider them, it was always going to be Boca, in the end. It was obvious to those who know me well.
“When Argentine players would join Roma, my first question was ‘How are you? Welcome to Roma!’ and the second was ‘What’s it like playing with Boca Juniors?’”
He was greeted at the airport by celebrating fans and said he has always been drawn to Boca Juniors because of the similarity in passion with Roma ultras.
“It was a little crazy at the airport, but so much affection. It’s not so very different from what I’ve experienced in a lifetime at Roma. I like this club so much precisely because they are so similar.
“In Rome, they are crazy about football and it’s the kind of passionate madness I can see here too.”
When De Rossi was given a tour of the Boca Juniors stadium, he was visibly moved.
“La Bombonera is the only stadium that has truly excited me, even though I’d never set foot in it before. Now that I am here, I see that it is a beautiful arena, but the real difference that makes it stand out is the people in it.
“It wasn’t just Napoli fans who loved Diego Maradona, as he represented the history of football. When I grew up, I started watching the video clips, documentaries and movies about him. A great chapter of his life and career was linked to these people and this stadium.”
He said playing at the Bombonera would be a dream come true, so what other dreams does he have?
“Winning a tournament would be the crowning moment of my career and an incredible dream. I only know one way to work and that is to give 100 per cent, 24 hours a day for football. I cannot promise we’ll win a trophy here, but I can promise 100 per cent.”