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Roma idol, De Rossi succeeds sacked Mourinho

Daniele De Rossi began a new adventure at Roma on Tuesday as the World Cup winner took over at his boyhood club following the sudden sacking of Jose Mourinho.

The former Italy midfielder, who spent almost the entirety of his playing career at Roma, signed a deal “until 30 June 2024” with the Serie A club hours after Mourinho was dismissed.

“I know no other way but dedication, daily sacrifices, and giving everything I have in order to face the challenges that await us from now until the end of the season,” said De Rossi in a statement.

“The excitement of being able to sit on our bench is indescribable. Everyone knows what Roma means to me,” he added.

A series of disappointing results which have the capital club way off the pace in the Italian top flight this term did for Mourinho, who left Roma’s Trigoria training ground on Tuesday afternoon.

Mourinho was met by a scrum of reporters and a handful of fans as he was driven out of the gates, saying “thank you for these two years” to supporters who chanted his name.

De Rossi is an idol for Roma fans as a local boy done good who played in some of the club’s best teams of the last two decades, alongside fellow icon Francesco Totti.

The 40-year-old, who grew up in a rough and ready beachside suburb of Rome, played for Roma for nearly two decades, winning over fans who saw in his passionate style of play one of their own on the pitch.

He won two Italian Cups and the 2007 Italian Super Cup, before finishing his career at Boca Juniors in early 2020 after less than a season in Argentina.

It is a huge job for someone with little pedigree as a coach however, his only job at SPAL lasting just four months last season.

He was sacked in February last year in a season which finished with SPAL being relegated to the third-tier Serie C.

Mourinho, who has been linked with a job in Saudi Arabia, left Roma after an emotional two-and-a-half years in which he won Europa Conference League in 2022, ending a 14-year trophy drought.

His contract was due to expire in June and although he had repeatedly stated that he wanted to stay on, talks about an extension to his deal never materialised.

Rumours of his departure grew more persistent after Roma were knocked out of the Italian Cup by local rivals Lazio and Sunday’s dismal 3-1 defeat at AC Milan which left them ninth in Serie A, five points adrift of the Champions League positions.
The 60-year-old Portuguese was a shock appointment in 2021, Roma’s announcement of his arrival as the replacement to Paulo Fonseca coming almost completely out of the blue.

Roma have failed to qualify for the money-spinning Champions League under Mourinho’s charge, a big problem for a club operating under Financial Fair Play constraints which struggles to balance its books.

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