AS Roma living legend Daniele De Rossi has been in sparkling form, just when coach Rudi Garcia needed his influence more than ever.
Two of Roma’s greatest icons Francesco Totti and De Rossi both appeared to be on the wane last season, as form deserted the illustrious pair.
The latter even found himself coming under scrutiny from a section of the Stadio Olimpico support, who had collectively admired his never-say-die attitude in a Roma jersey for so long.
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It seemed the box-to-box midfielder was set for an elongated spell on the bench ahead of the 2015-16 campaign, but a sudden upsurge in performance levels has seen him regain his rightful place among the Serie A elite.
The 32-year-old has split his time between the central midfield berth he normally occupies and operating within central defence this season.
After featuring at centre-back for four games in succession, he was restored to his favoured role in the middle of the park against Empoli last weekend.
Roma’s contest with the Tuscans represented De Rossi’s 500th appearance for the capital club, and he marked the occasion with the second goal in a 3-1 win.
He retained his position in midfield at Bayer Leverkusen for Tuesday night’s incredible 4-4 draw, which saw De Rossi strike twice in the first half after the Giallorossi conceded two early goals.
The tigerish midfielder rolled back the years with a vintage display, using his experience to arrive in the box at exactly the right time to notch his vital brace.
A performance full of youthful enthusiasm and trademark grit suggests De Rossi is far from finished, and he could prove to be the ace up Rudi Garcia’s sleeve as Roma attempt to lift their first Scudetto since 2001.
De Rossi has already beaten his tally of two goals achieved last term, and he has arguably been man-of-the-match in each of his two outings since resuming a central midfield position.
Proudly sporting the captain’s armband, the Eternal City native has been the architect behind Roma’s continued ambitions of securing a title win with an impressive passing accuracy of 91 percent in league action.
The naysayers were – prematurely it seems – out in force when the Lupi drew with Sassuolo and then lost out to Sampdoria in successive matches during September, but a run of three league victories on the trot have put them just one point shy of top spot domestically.
However, they still sit bottom of Champions League Group E following the extraordinary draw at Leverkusen, but it could have been so much worse without De Rossi’s timely intervention to reinvigorate the visitors.
It may be a difficult task for a seasoned veteran such as De Rossi to maintain his splendid form of late throughout the remainder of an arduous campaign, but his ability to do so appears key to any dreams Roma have of eventually becoming champions.