Late on Monday evening, Italy’s legendary midfielder Danielle De Rossi announced that he would be hanging up his boots with immediate effect. The 36-year-old had signed for Boca Junior in the summer of 2018, but his stint for the Argentinian giants has been marred by injuries.

It was these injuries that prompted the defensive midfielder to call it quits on his football career after making just seven appearances for Boca. De Rossi now plans to return back to his native Italy and spend some time with his family before embarking on his new journey as a team coach or director.

“I simply feel the need to be back with my family. I miss my daughter in particular and she is missing me. I have made this decision, it is definitive.

‘'Everyone has tried to convince me otherwise, they offered me more time, but the decision has been made and there's nothing strange about it. 'I leave a piece of my heart here, as nobody can realise what it means to play at the Bombonera and be in the Boca dressing room. This has been a unique experience,” De Rossi was quoted saying in a press conference.

De Rossi remained a one-club man for the majority of his career, playing for AS Roma for a whopping 18 years. He is the club’s second-most capped player in their history, behind only Francesco Totti. The midfielder played 459 times for Roma and scored 43 goals.

End of an era 

De Rossi’s retirement means that all of Italy’s outfield players who were part of their World Cup winning squad have now bid adieu to their playing careers. The tough tackling midfielder joins the likes of Genaro Gattuso, Andrea Pirlo, Marco Materazzi and many others who hanged up their boots before.

Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon remains the only active player from the 2006 squad, still going strong at the age of 41 as the shot-stopper for Italian champions Juventus, having played seven times under new manager Maurizio Sarri this season. 

Feature Image courtesy: AFP / Alejandro Pagni