We continue our countdown to the World Cup with a look at Roma’s tenacious box-to-box midfielder Daniele De Rossi.
Club: AS Roma
International Caps: 52
International Goals: 8
De Rossi initially came through the ranks at Roma as a striker, but has since established himself as an influential midfielder for both club and country.
He has gone on to make over 200 appearances for the capital club and was the driving force behind their Serie A title challenge this season, leading to speculated interest from Real Madrid.
Although he is essentially a combative midfielder, De Rossi is also very capable on the ball and has scored a number of important goals throughout his career.
He earned his first full international cap in the 2006 World Cup qualifying game against Norway at the age of 21, marking the occasion with a debut goal.
De Rossi was sent off for elbowing USA’s Brain McBride during the 2006 World Cup group stages, but returned from suspension to score during Italy’s penalty shootout victory over France in the final.
He is now widely expected to inherit the captain’s armband when current skipper Fabio Cannavaro, who yesterday confirmed he will be joining UAE league champions Al-Alhi, retires from international football after the World Cup.
With the talismanic figure of De Rossi in their ranks, Italy will certainly be optimistic of repeating their 2006 World Cup exploits, but they will be hoping the midfielder can curb his aggression in South Africa.