Daniele De Rossi spoke to the media on Friday, the day before his debut in the dugout as the head coach of Roma.
After his playing career, De Rossi needs no introductions to Roma, but this was his first opportunity to explain what could be expected of him in the next chapter of his journey with the club.
Here are 10 highlights from his first press conference.
“I’m lucky because, being a fan, I’ve watched every Roma match. If I were at another club, I’d have to start from zero and watch all the footage. This is the team I know best in the world because I’m a fan. Maybe that’s reduced my study time a bit.”
“The only reason why I would’ve said no is if I thought the team was average, or bad. I wouldn’t come here to show myself up if I was sure it would happen. I think this is a great team.”
“If at the end of this journey, Roma are recognisable and the players know what they have to do on the pitch in a productive and organised way, then I’ll be happy with that. I’d be remembered as someone who made the team play well and got them to win. That’s more than enough for me.”
“The presidents, Dan and Ryan Friedkin, were very clear on the duration of my contract and the tenure of my time here. I said ‘Okay, great. You name a figure and I want a bonus for Champions League qualification.’ I didn’t sign a blank contract because there wasn’t actually a contract but I would have signed for whatever figure they put.”
“They know that from the moment that first message arrived – one I really did not expect – I’d fight to the death to stay here. That was understood, and I think they’re happy with that: a coach who tries to keep his job by playing clean, without leveraging what I was before, by trying to earn the right to stay here on the pitch. That would be a dream for me.”
“I don’t think any Roma fan can love two people at the same time. You can’t take away the love they had and still have for Mourinho, but I don’t think it’ll be difficult for them to start to love me too. Let’s maintain the love, the passion and the noise I saw at the stadium last time I was here.”
“I sent him [Mourinho] a message – not because I had to but because I really wanted to. He was one of the first to write to me when I signed for SPAL. It was the right thing to do.”
“When you see these footballers in person, you can’t help but be impressed. I was used to playing alongside great players. But when after quite a long time you see them again in training and you find yourself working with this level of footballer again, when you see the likes of [Paulo] Dybala, [Romelu] Lukaku, [Lorenzo] Pellegrini on the ball, you’re impressed.”
“Who have I been surprised by? I must admit I didn’t know [Niccolo] Pisilli very well but he’s a very good player – better than I thought. He’s still a kid but I’ve been impressed by him. I admit I didn’t know him and seeing him in action surprised me.”
“I’d be happy if we were in the top four at the end of the season. That’s what we’re aiming for. It won’t be easy, but it’s definitely possible.”