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Daniele De Rossi is a Roma legend, and is mentioned in the same breath as Francesco Totti and Giuseppe Giannini when fans reminisce about the greatest and most loyal players to have ever played for the club.
But the Italian midfielder was linked with a move to the Premier League on multiple occasions, and more specifically Manchester United. After making 616 appearances for Roma over 17 seasons, De Rossi finally moved as he had a short spell at Boca Juniors before retiring, but he could have easily left earlier.
Sir Alex Ferguson was keen on signing the Italian enforcer for many seasons, but especially after starring in Italy's 2006 World Cup win. But Rossi claimed that he was put off by a potential move due to the fact he'd have to compete with Roy Keane and Paul Scholes.
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During De Rossi's prime, there weren't many better midfielder's in world football, but unfortunately for the Italian there were two pretty good alternatives at United. The Roma legend was linked with United for years and was also linked with Manchester City once they were taken over in 2008, but decided to remain loyal.
For De Rossi, the only move was United, and speaking in an interview with Sky Sport, he claimed that he would have loved to move to Old Trafford. But there were two players that stopped him from signing for Ferguson's side.
"Since I was a child I have loved United," De Rossi said. "It was the right choice that I didn't go to Manchester because there was Keane and Scholes, incredible players. It was really my desire to go to Boca Juniors.
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"I never chose to leave Roma, but I felt like a god at Boca." De Rossi's temptation for United may have come after being thrashed 7-1 by the Red Devils in the Champions League back in 2007, with the Italian scoring the only goal for Roma.
But upon reflection, De Rossi is happy he stayed and became a legend, and has even expressed desire to return to Rome as a coach. "I went on a football path that is not unique, but rare," he added.
"Playing 20 years on a team does not happen every day. I can’t dream of the same thing if I become a coach, there are no coaches that last so long. I would like to coach Roma, but first I have to become a coach and to do it there is a growth path that all young coaches need.
De Rossi would be welcomed with open arms at Roma, and he's been tipped for management due to his leadership skills as a player. Currently though, they're managed by Jose Mourinho, but a coaching role could be offered.
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- Manchester United FC
- Sir Alex Ferguson
- Premier League
- Roy Keane
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