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De Rossi calls time on incredible international career

Roma captain Daniele De Rossi has announced his retirement from international football, bringing to an end an incredible career with the Italian national team.

In total De Rossi made 117 appearances for the Azzurri, scoring 21 goals - putting him fourth on the country's all-time appearance list, and 12th on the top goalscorers list.

The Giallorossi academy graduate played in eight international tournaments over the course of 10 years, winning the World Cup in 2006 alongside Giallorossi teammates Francesco Totti and Simone Perrotta.

De Rossi announced his retirement from the international game on Monday night, after Italy failed to qualify for next summer's World Cup in Russia.

“There is a funereal atmosphere right now but no-one has died,” De Rossi said. “These are the paths we take in life and our careers. From the youth sector as a 16-year-old arriving at Coverciano to the senior national team, I have worn these colours around the world.

"To think that this is the last time I will pull on this shirt is as painful for me as it is for any player who has to stop. But this is where my adventure [with Italy] ends.

“I could not be more proud of the teammates I have played with, the young guys and the older ones. Italy needs to work very hard on the youth setup and then I am sure it will be back at the highest level, because the talent is there.”

The 34-year-old was also asked for his reaction to the events of the night, as the Azzurri were held to a 0-0 draw that condemned them to play-off defeat against Sweden.

“It’s a dark moment for our game, an extremely sad one for our players who have done everything over the last two years,” De Rossi noted. “There is not much to say, unfortunately there will be a lot of time to analyse it all.

“The Federation [Italian FA] has an important role now, to rebuild after a disappointment like this. The only thing I can really say is banal, it’s not technical or tactical: we need to move forward with the same spirit my teammates showed on the pitch today, with the desire to continue to take on this adventure.

“To say anything else could be taken the wrong way, but I don’t think we deserved to go out based on the 180 minutes we saw. Well done to Sweden, they played their game and did what they needed to – but maybe we deserved a bit more.”

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