De Rossi admits: Retirement just around the corner

Mats Hummels – Borussia Dortmund Homecoming

Roma legend Daniele De Rossi says that it will soon be time for him to hang up his boots and assures fans that he was never going to follow coach Luciano Spalletti to Inter.

Ahead of the Azzurri match that will take De Rossi to a total of 113 international caps – seeing him past Dino Zoff as the fifth most capped player in the country's history, the 33-year old midfielder says that he struggles to see a space for him in the international set up beyond 2018.

"Let's first get to the World Cup, and then in 2018 I will be 35 and I could even bid farewell to the Azzurri shirt," De Rossi told reporters when asked whether he sees himself appearing for Italy in the 2020 European Championship.

"It is a real honour for me to go beyond Zoff, soon it will be Andrea Pirlo, so we are talking about legends of Italian football," he said, referring to the likely event of him playing a further three matches that would take him to third in the most-capped list.

"I will be 34 in a couple of months and I'm absolutely certain that I could be an important player for the World Cup. 

"But if I think of 2020, I would be 37 years old, so you have to be realistic. If I'm needed I will always be there, but I consider the World Cup to be my final experience [for Italy].

"This contract I have just signed could be the last contract of my footballing career."

De Rossi went on to discuss the departure of Roma coach Spalletti for rivals Inter Milan, a move some expected De Rossi to emulate.

"It doesn't bother me at all that I'm not going to Inter, because I never was an Inter player," he said.

"I have always worn the same shirt, and it would be a bit strange to see me wearing a different one of any colour.

"I'm sorry [he's gone] because he's a great coach I had a strong bond with. I hope that he doesn't show 100 percent of how good he is at Inter because they are going to be our rivals for the top places next year," De Rossi added.