Did an American businessman with no connection to Major League Soccer just cost the league one of the best players it might have ever recruited?
If you ask AS Roma club legend and Italian national team midfielder Daniele De Rossi, that is exactly what happened.
On Wednesday, Roma — and club president James Pallotta, an American businessman from Boston — announced plans to build a brand-new, world-class, 52,000-seat stadium in the Italian capital (photos above and below).
The club, which also employed US national team midfielder Michael Bradley until his winter transfer to Toronto FC, had long been seeking a move out of the cavernous, track-ridden, 72,000-seat Stadio Olimpico.
Likewise, De Rossi always had plans of moving stateside and finishing his club career in MLS. But knowing that Roma — and Pallotta, again, the American — were deep into brokering a new stadium all along, he now finds it more difficult to picture himself leaving the club whose shirt is the only one he's ever worn.
“I love the United States culture and I have always wanted to live there, maybe in a big city,” De Rossi recently told The New York Times. “But it is funny: Now, I will probably never live in America, and it is because of an American.”
In 2012 De Rossi signed a contract extension that will keep him at Roma until the summer of 2017, at which time he will turn 34 years old.
Fantastic news today for Roma supporters, no doubt. But a bit of a bummer for MLS teams and its supporters.