It was a case of so near yet so far for Roma as they bowed out of the Champions League semi-final at the hands of Liverpool but Giallorossi captain Daniele De Rossi insisted everyone associated with the club can be proud of their display over the course of two legs.
“I thanked the players afterwards. I’m so proud of all of them,” De Rossi was quoted as saying by the club website.
Trailing 5-2 from the first leg at Anfield, Roma very nearly forced the tie into extra-time but time ran out as they won the second leg 4-2, going out of the continental competition by virtue of a 7-6 aggregate defeat.
De Rossi, however, called on his teammates to carry forward their momentum into the Serie A, where the club is involved in a three-way battle with Lazio and Inter Milan to finish in the top-four.
“If we want to make this amazing Champions League run even more memorable, we must make sure we get back in the competition by finishing in the top four. And we need to believe it’s a competition we can win – because we’ve seen that we’re not far behind the other teams.”
“Given how big a club Roma is, reaching the Champions League semi-finals should be something we do once every three years, not once every 30,” the midfield lynchpin added.
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With three games left in the domestic season, Roma are in third place with 70 points, level with crosstown rivals Lazio while Inter are four points behind.
“I’m proud of my team-mates and so very proud of the fans who were here today – and who have always been behind us. It was the sort of atmosphere I hadn’t seen for years, since I was a kid, like in those games against Brondby and Slavia Prague. They may not have brought us a trophy but I’ve never forgotten them.
“On nights like this you sense the pride, the love, the very essence of being Roman. That’s something we have to build on now.”