Daniele De Rossi believes he has chosen to continue his career with "the craziest fans in football" after joining Boca Juniors following his Roma departure.
The 36-year-old midfielder had spent his entire professional career at Roma, having come through their academy, but they opted to let him leave on a free transfer and that sparked protests from supporters.
Initially the former Italy international looked destined to retire, but Boca emerged as a potential destination, and it soon became apparent De Rossi had long desired to represent Los Xeneizes.
De Rossi was given a hero's welcome upon his arrival in Buenos Aires, and Boca confirmed his signing on Thursday after he agreed a 12-month contract.
He was officially presented to the media on Monday and highlighted the influence of Boca sporting director Nicolas Burdisso – a former Roma team-mate of De Rossi's – and the passion of the fans in his decision to sign.
Con este emotivo video, el club sorprendió a Daniele De Rossi en medio de la conferencia de prensa. ¡No te lo pierdas! pic.twitter.com/vwfnjQf3Sy— Boca Jrs. Oficial (@BocaJrsOficial) July 29, 2019
"These days I think I want to be inside this stadium, to know deeply what it means," he told reporters.
"The reception at the airport was incredible. I can't thank you enough other than by doing my job as seriously as I can. I have to be serious to show that we all made a good choice.
"From time to time we talked, Nicolas and I. First, I said yes after I left Roma, but then I asked him if I could think about it a little more.
"Being 36 years old and changing everything at once was something that could scare me, but this place stimulates me, and Nicolas was my guarantee.
"He told me that they are professionals in Boca and I believe him. He is my friend; he would not have brought me to a place where I wouldn't fit in.
"Estoy muy feliz de estar acá" | Daniele De Rossi fue presentado este lunes en conferencia de prensa y brindó sus primeras palabras como jugador Xeneize. https://t.co/yUNjUqBHjK pic.twitter.com/pUVAYLuk2b— Boca Jrs. Oficial (@BocaJrsOficial) July 29, 2019
"I need serious people, with a structure similar to that in Europe, and what I have seen here is that, a suitable place to work.
"I asked myself many times. I lived for 20 years in a country where football is lived 24 hours a day.
"I could have chosen a much quieter place to relax, but I only know one way: seriousness, and then I chose to come to a place with the craziest fans in football."Published 30 Jul 2019, 03:18 IST