Daniele De Rossi believes Roma will have to work hard in Wednesday’s Champions League game against Barcelona. The Giallorossi midfielder assessed the threat Luis Enrique’s side pose during the pre-match press conference. He pointed to Messi as the chief danger as “he always beats a player and that’s why we have to be balanced and compact between the lines.”
Here is what the midifielder said on the eve of the game.
Can you get a result tomorrow if you manage to nullify Messi?
“Barcelona are a special side in that, as well as being the best team, they also boast the best player around. It’s doubly difficult coming up against a team like the Blaugrana, as they have both a great playing style and exceptional individuals. Our aim is not simply to stop them but to work hard during the match and help one another out. Messi almost always beats a man, that’s why we have to stay compact and organized.”
Last year’s defeat to Bayern left lasting psychological damage. Could the same happen tomorrow?
“Last season’s match against the Germans was an unusual game. But Bayern and Barcelona are definitely on a similar level. They’re two of the most dominant teams in the world. Part of our efforts to qualify will be decided tomorrow. We know it will be important, as oppposed to crucial, and we cannot think that it will have an impact on our position in the standings and our efforts in the league. Serie A and the Champions League are two separate things, just like last year, although it definitely hit us hard losing like that at home.”
Were Roma not patient enough with Luis Enrique or was he not ready yet?
“He resigned so we can’t really blame the club. The 2011-12 season was a tricky campaign and people judged it in a certain way, as is often the case in Rome. He also didn’t get much support from the media because perhaps it didn’t suit their agenda. Since he left, he’s shown he’s not a mug like many people made him out to be and he’s been successful. Yes, he has a great squad to work with but I’m happy for him and his staff because they’re lovely people. Besides tomorrow, I’ll always cheer him on.”
You’ve been compared to Gerrard and Lampard in the past but can you now see a bit of Mascherano in yourself, in that you can also cover at the back?
“The Gerrard and Lampard comparisons were made by Lippi and then I kept on looking up to them. Barcelona have a host of stars and Mascherano has developed in a way I could in the future. He has dominated both in Spain and Europe in midfield and defense. It would be great if I could emulate him. This is more a tactical matter and depends on the team’s needs. The coach and players know I’ll play wherever I’m needed. If I can perform well like I did against Juventus, I’m happy.”
What have you made of the Curva’s recent protests?
“I’m trying to get a clearer picture before I comment, as I often have in the past during my career. I don’t want to appeal to anyone and there’s no issue, as long as the protests remain civilized. Obviously it’s nice for us when the stadium is full of flags and color, but we managed to win against Juve. Theirs is a more than acceptable way of protesting and it’s only fair we respect those who make their point in a civilized fashion.”
Does it annoy you that you’ve once again been labeled as a dirty player after the red card you received on international duty?
“I haven’t read much of what’s been written to be honest as I know what I’m faced with in situations like these. I saw some interesting statistics about the number of red cards I’ve been shown for Roma and the national team and it didn’t seem that many. But obviously you can’t expect a pat on the back when you react like that. You try to live with it and not do it again. I’ve said many times, every now and then I see red. I’ve finished loads of matches without being sent off and I’ve also picked up cards for normal fouls. When I’ve made mistakes they’ve also been highlighted on TV and I can’t blame anyone else. That’s the way it works and I can’t get upset about it at 32 years of age.”