Daniele De Rossi says Chelsea’s money has never tempted him into considering leaving Roma.
Chelsea, Manchester United and Real Madrid are among the clubs reported to have been spurned by the Italy midfielder during his career, which has been spent entirely at Roma since his professional debut in 2001.
The 33-year-old stressed he has no immediate plans to retire, with another club icon, Francesco Totti, set to embark on his final playing campaign, and feels his decision to remain with Roma over the years does not represent a lack of ambition.
De Rossi told SI.com: “It wouldn’t be right toward the fans for me to leave as well, in the same year.
“It’s all about ambitions. For me, money, it’s not something that can move me from Rome to Chelsea because I will get money in Chelsea.
“I get money in Rome, so that’s not a difference – in another team I can get more money but this [extra] amount doesn’t matter.
“What’s more ambitious, a player who will want to go to win the Champions League in Real Madrid, or one who wants to win the league in Rome?
“Roma never won a lot of titles. In 90 years, we won three. It’s been hard. I think a great ambition could be also to try to win where nobody ever won. It’s more difficult.”
Asked if he ever thinks about the trophies he could have won elsewhere, De Rossi added: “That passes through my mind, but it’s something I chose long ago.
“It’s all about the matter of being a Roman. Sometimes on my couch I think, ‘If I were not born in Rome, I would never be a Roma fan. I would never feel this sort of debt, this duty, to my fans, to my people, to my city’.
“For me, a good player, it could be easier for sure. But the other side of the coin is that I love to stay here. I love to make my people happy.
“You can find crowds also in Chelsea, Madrid, Manchester United. But here I have my friends: my friends in the stands and people that I never knew. But they are just like my friends because they have the same passion, the same faith.
“We have the same story. We cried for the same matches. We’ve been sad for the same reason. We share our feelings even if we never knew each other. They recognise themselves in us, me and Francesco.
“The one feeling bigger than the pride you feel when you play for Rome is the sadness you feel without Rome.”