Roma captain Daniele De Rossi has revealed that he would have left the Serie A club last summer if he had received a suitable offer.
De Rossi has spent his entire footballing career at Stadio Olimpico and the 34-year-old is their longest-serving player following the departure of club legend Francesco Totti.
But the World Cup-winning midfielder said that an attractive offer from a big European or MLS club in the United States could have swayed him not to sign a new two-year contract in May.
“If a big European or American club had come in – and it’s no secret one of my dreams is to go to America for a lifestyle and football experience – I probably wouldn’t be here today,” De Rossi told Corriere dello Sport on Saturday.
De Rossi, who took over as captain after Totti’s departure, had said at the time that not signing a new contract would have been too “big a blow” for the club.
“I always thought it would be great if I could, with all due respect and the correct proportions, experience a day like the one Totti had on May 28 when he retired,” he continued.
“It’d be wonderful to experience such an intense salute with the fans. I don’t know when and I don’t know how.
“At the same time, I do feel the strong desire to have an experience elsewhere. Frankly, 16 years at Roma is like 32 elsewhere, because they really weigh on you and are a tough slog. Thank God, I am physically having the best seasons of my career, but the pressure is often excessive here.
“I think I would, and ought to, have an experience elsewhere. I had already decided to do it last year, as for long periods there was no contact with the club over my renewal.
“The biggest offer on the table was from another Italian club (believed to be Inter Milan).
“However, my heart and love won out: I couldn’t betray the city and the fans.”
Diego Costa regrets the manner of his Chelsea exit and admits to having “special affection” for people at the club.
The 28-year-old striker finally agreed a move back to Atletico Madrid earlier this week and arrived in the Spanish capital on Friday, ending weeks of exile in Brazil.
Costa won two Premier League titles in his three seasons at Stamford Bridge, but his stay ended in acrimony as he refused to return to the club after being informed by text message that he was not in Antonio Conte’s plans.
But Costa will not let his final few months sour his time at the club.
“I didn’t want it to unfold as it did,” the Spain international told journalists at Madrid airport, as reported by Marca.
“I have a special affection for the people at Chelsea.
“I don’t want to have an ungrateful attitude towards Chelsea, because I was also very happy there and played in a great team.”
Costa will look to restart his career in familiar surroundings as he is back at the club he served with distinction between 2010 and 2014.
Although he will not be able to play until January due to Atletico’s transfer embargo, Costa is raring to go at a place he calls home.
“Atletico Madrid is my home and here I am,” he added. “I am very happy. [The negotiations] went on too long, but there was a happy ending in the end.
“Now I’m waiting to see my team-mates and to train.
“I am not as unfit as some have been saying.
“There won’t be a lack of determination on my part and I’ll give my best, as has always been the case.”
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) September 22, 2017
Pep Guardiola has called the League Cup “a waste of energy” as the Manchester City manager joined old rival Jose Mourinho in questioning the worth of the competition.
The League Cup was created in 1960 to take advantage of the fact that floodlights had increased the possibility for midweek football.
However, the tournament has always been seen as secondary to the FA Cup in England, and its importance has gradually diminished over the last two decades as the top sides started to rest their key players until the latter stages.
In an attempt to keep the bigger clubs interested, the football League has allowed English teams playing in European competition to be exempt until the third round since 1996, while replays were scrapped in 1997.
Yet Manchester United manager Mourinho suggested on Wednesday that English clubs in the Champions League and Europa League should be allowed to opt out of the tournament.
Guardiola has supported those comments as City bid to navigate a frantic run of games.
The City manager made eight changes for Wednesday’s 2-1 win at West Bromwich Albion in the League Cup third round, allowing him to keep players fresh before Saturday’s Premier League home game against Crystal Palace.
City host Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Tuesday before travelling to Chelsea for a league game the following Saturday.
Mourinho guided United to win the competition last season, but Guardiola does not believe it was worth the effort.
The Spaniard has suggested that it was victory in the Europa League, rather than the domestic cup, that made Mourinho’s first season at Old Trafford a success.
NOT MUCH CREDIT
— Manchester City (@ManCity) September 21, 2017
“We have a lot of games. If you have to play in a competition you have to play in it,” Guardiola said on Friday.
“It’s good for the players you don’t use a lot. It’s a prize where, when you win, it’s OK, but after that the people don’t give too much credit.
“I think the prize is good when you win another one. But you waste a lot of energy.
“You can imagine going against a Tony Pulis team (West Brom) and playing 90 minutes in those conditions, then you spend three or four hours on the bus.
“Then three days later, it’s Crystal Palace, three days later, Shakhtar Donetsk, three or four days later, Stamford Bridge.
“So for the managers, there’s a lot of wasted energy. But we knew that before, so it’s not a complaint in those terms. If we have to play, we have to play.”
City and United go into the weekend joint-top of the Premier League, each with 13 points from five matches and an identical goals record.
Guardiola’s team are on a run of five successive wins, and have defeated Liverpool 5-0 and Watford 6-0 in recent weeks.
That has made them favourites to beat Palace, who are bottom of the Premier League without a point or a goal.
But their new manager Roy Hodgson guided them to a midweek League Cup win over Huddersfield Town, and Guardiola has warned his players to be wary.
“The team are not pulled by strings. One little detail down and everything is down. You have to be careful,” he said.
“They have to go to sleep tonight and know that tomorrow, we can lose that game. If that happens, we will be closer to actually winning.”
Former England manager Hodgson, at 70, is the oldest man ever to be appointed to take charge of a Premier League club.
Guardiola, at 46, admires the new Palace boss for his long career, but insists that he has no intention of still being a coach in his seventies.
“Definitely not. I promise you. I love golf. But I admire him,” he said.
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) September 22, 2017