De Rossi calls on Roma fans to mend Kolarov relationship

By Sports Desk February 11, 2019

Daniele De Rossi has called on Roma fans to repair their "fractured" relationship with Aleksandar Kolarov ahead of Tuesday's Champions League clash with Porto.

Kolarov was heavily criticised after his performance in the 7-1 Coppa Italia defeat at the hands of Fiorentina last month, with offensive graffiti written near his house in the aftermath to the game.

Having been jeered during the 1-1 home draw against AC Milan four days after the Fiorentina game, the former Lazio player bowed to the travelling support after scoring in last Friday's 3-0 triumph at Chievo.

Roma coach Eusebio Di Francesco said after the Serie A fixture it was an apologetic gesture from Kolarov, rather than a sarcastic response to the current situation.

Ahead of the first leg of their last-16 tie at the Stadio Olimpico, the influential De Rossi has spoken out in support of his team-mate, praising his professionalism while describing him as "like a brother".

"Should this little fractured relationship be repaired, I would be the happiest man in the world, even because I feel part of it since I love the Roma fans and they always defended and protected me," the midfielder told the media.

"Aleksandar is like a brother to me. What I can tell the fans is: you always trusted me, do it again now when I say he is a great professional and so focused on what he is doing.

"I am not saying he is a Romanista since he was a kid, no. I am saying he always gives his best, never skipped a training session and often played in difficult conditions.

"I'd rather have someone like him than those who kiss your shirt and give honey-dripped quotes about fans but then they don't stop for autographs or raise their eyebrows when asked to play in a different role.

"Kolarov is a professional like a few others I know, then you have to remember fans are to be respected and sometimes understood when bad results make everything more nervous. To mend this relationship, tomorrow is the best day and that would make me the happiest one."

De Rossi helped Roma reach the last four in the Champions League last year and while he will turn 36 before the start of the 2019-20 season, he has no plans to retire just yet.

"I always said that if I am fit I will keep playing. My team-mates and my manager have no idea how important they are for me," he replied when asked about his future.

"In the last three seasons they made me feel as important as I had never felt before in my career. I have to thank them for this.

"I see performances are good but they are so because when you feel important and you are fit to play everything comes easy. I can only express gratitude for how much they made me feel desired in those three months when I was only an observer."

Related items

  • Koulibaly not drawn on future after Napoli loss Koulibaly not drawn on future after Napoli loss

    Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly refused to be drawn on his future, but played down suggestions he was too good to be in the Serie A.

    Koulibaly, 27, has been linked with a move to Manchester United and coach Carlo Ancelotti said the centre-back was worth €150million, but not for sale.

    After Napoli lost to Arsenal in the Europa League quarter-finals, the Senegal international was asked if the Serie A was enough for him.

    "Why? I grew up in this league. It's the league that made me the player I am today," Koulibaly said.

    "To me what matters most is to finish the season well, then we'll see.

    "I am sorry because we wanted to go through."

    Alexandre Lacazette's first-half goal saw Arsenal beat Napoli 1-0 in the second leg, wrapping up a 3-0 aggregate success.

    Koulibaly was saddened by his side's defeat and lamented their first-leg performance in London.

    "It's our fault, we should have been a bit tougher, have more anger to score goals, and we didn't have it," he said.

    "But at this level, when you do a wrong first half as we did the first leg, it's hard to come back. We saw it tonight and we are very sorry."

  • Ancelotti backs Napoli squad despite Europa League disappointment Ancelotti backs Napoli squad despite Europa League disappointment

    Carlo Ancelotti still believes in Napoli's squad as he defended his players after their Europa League defeat to Arsenal.

    The Serie A side bowed out in the quarter-finals after a 1-0 loss at home on Thursday saw them suffer a 3-0 aggregate defeat.

    Ancelotti, in his first season at the helm, said Napoli needed to push on despite their European disappointment.

    "I still believe that the squad is full of quality. The players have done all they could but this is football," he told a news conference.

    "At times not everything goes your way. We tried, we look forward, there won't be drama from the players or the club, everyone is united and is trying to bring the club further forward from what we've done this season.

    "I don't think Napoli has managed to reach many quarter-finals in European competitions in the past, so our objective is always to improve."

    Napoli's exit means no Italian clubs reached the semi-finals in either the Europa League or Champions League.

    Ancelotti's focus is still on trying to secure second spot in Serie A, with Napoli seven points clear of third-placed Inter.

    "Obviously we are very disappointed to go out of the Europa League. We've failed in this objective and we know it was going to be difficult," he said.

    "We know there are no Italian teams in the semi-finals of European competitions. We knew from the start it would be tough.

    "This season, on our results, we think we should finish second in Serie A. That's not too little for us.

    "We need to prepare well for next season knowing the team has been renewed, and it will be renewed for next season."

  • Ajax in Champions League semis is 'crazy', says Vertonghen Ajax in Champions League semis is 'crazy', says Vertonghen

    Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen said it was "crazy" to see his former club Ajax in the Champions League semi-finals.

    The Eredivisie giants are into the last four of Europe's elite club competition for the first time since 1997 after an incredible run that has included eliminating Real Madrid and Juventus.

    Vertonghen started his professional career in Amsterdam before making the move to Spurs in 2012.

    The defender said Ajax's run was no longer a surprise as he prepares to face his former club in the semi-finals.

    "Ajax, obviously it's crazy they're there. An even bigger surprise that Ajax is there than us, probably," Vertonghen told UK media.

    "I follow them every game, I speak to the people at the club, I know how good they are, I've watched every game.

    "At the beginning in the Champions League they surprised everyone but now it is not a surprise any more. They are of this level, they are Champions League semi-final quality. That's how it is.

    "I know how good they are, because obviously knocking Madrid and Juventus out is crazy. It will be an unbelievable battle between two positive sides."

    While Ajax shocked Juve, Spurs survived a remarkable second leg against Manchester City, progressing on away goals after a 4-4 aggregate draw.

    Progression was only secured after the VAR ruled out a stoppage-time goal by City attacker Raheem Sterling, who thought he had sent Pep Guardiola's men into the semis.

    "It was crazy, madness, absolute madness. You don't know anything and it's a weird feeling," Vertonghen said.

    "No-one was even appealing for offside, we all thought they had scored. Everyone was on the floor, but there was still two or three minutes left.

    "So it was 'let's try and get the ball in the box and we will see whatever happens'. And then out of nothing, the referee came up with VAR. We didn't even know."

    Tottenham will host the first leg of their semi-final against Ajax on April 30.

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.