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De Rossi: LeBron James motivates me to keep improving


Daniele De Rossi has cited LeBron James as an inspiration, as he enjoys something of an Indian Summer to his career.

De Rossi has enjoyed two fine seasons in the Italian capital, after a period in which some had begun to wonder whether his powers were on the wane.

But, on the eve of yet another campaign with his boyhood club, De Rossi admits that a combination of a change in mindset and inspiration from other sources has helped propel his form.

“I’ve been working in a different way, working harder,” De Rossi told Roma TV.

“At 33, 34… soon 35 years of age, despite that it’s no longer the case that we need to slow down. A great example for me is LeBron James – even if we are at two very different levels of talent, where he is superhuman and I am just a worker. But LeBron is a similar age to me and these days is playing even better than he was at 25 or 28 or 30. So if he can do it, someone with so much more natural talent, why should I not try to do it as well?”

He added: “Usually, with pre-season, it can be tough – you are away from your family, the work is hard, you don’t get much time off… a lot about it is tough. But as you get older, you try to enjoy it a bit more, to savour it.

“You know you are nearing the end, so you appreciate everything more – and perhaps you work even harder too. I am trying to make the most of every moment.”

This season the squad are working at the club’s training base in Trigoria, rather than venturing north for cooler climes.

“It’s great to be here at Trigoria this year,” the captain added. “We start with the majority of the group here, we have everything we need – everything we usually use during the campaign. Our gym, our equipment, our staff, our environment… everything is set so we can focus on the work.”

A veteran of such pre-season campaigns, De Rossi admits that he is starting to feel his age when he looks around at some of his new teammates.

“Yeah, I definitely feel old when I see [William] Bianda, who was born in 2000, or [Alessio] Riccardi who was born in 2001 – and then think that my daughter was born in 2005,” he joked. “It is her birthday today, I want to wish her a happy birthday.

“But their youth definitely has an effect, even in training where normally you put these things to one side and think only about improving. Saying something in training to a 23 or 25-year-old is one thing, but you have to be more considerate when they are only 18.”