Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi has revealed he rejected advances from a Serie A rival, reported to be Inter Milan, in favour of staying at the Stadio Olimpico for another season as he could not betray the club or the fans.
The midfield veteran is the club's longest serving player following the retirement of Roma legend Francesco Totti, and was reported to have received an ambitious offer from Inter to switch allegiances this summer as they caught wind of his desire to find a fresh challenge.
After 16-years with Roma, De Rossi admits he is still on the lookout for experience at another club as he told Corriere dello Sport of interest from a rival during the summer: "I think I ought to have an experience elsewhere.
"I had already decided to do it last year, as for long periods there was no contact with the club over my renewal.
"I was playing well, so would leave a happy memory. For a while, it was my plan to leave. The biggest offer on the table was from another Italian club."
If the offer was from Inter, and subsequently accepted it would have seen De Rossi take the field as a direct rival for Roma, a decision which his heart would not let him make.
He added: "However, my heart and love won out. I couldn't betray the city and the fans. If a big European or American club had come in – and it's no secret one of my dreams is to go to America for a lifestyle and football experience – I probably wouldn't be here today."
With the captain's armband now bestowed upon him as his career moves closer to its end, many are hopeful he will accept a send-off not too dissimilar from Totti's, but the 34-year-old admits he is unlikely to follow the same path as he is desperate to experience a professional life away from Roma before he hangs up his boots.
"I always thought it'd be great if I could, with all due respect and the correct proportions, experience a day like the one Totti had on May 28 when he retired. It would be wonderful to experience such an intense salute with the fans," he added.
"At the same time, I do feel the strong desire to have an experience elsewhere. Frankly, 16 years at Roma is like 32 elsewhere, because they really weigh on you. I am physically having the best seasons of my career, but the pressure is often excessive."