By 90Min
June 27, 2019

With Daniele De Rossi departing the Stadio Olimpico this summer, Roma are in need of a new hero.

The good news is they might already have one among their ranks, in the form of local boy Lorenzo Pellegrini. 

The 23-year-old has been a regular in the side since re-joining the club from Sassuolo two years ago, and has also been capped ten times by Italy's senior side.

Now, he's showing just how good he is at the Under-21 European Championships. But how much do we actually know about the young midfielder once linked with Manchester United?

Well, if you don't know, we're here to cover you - with five key facts...


He Lives & Breathes Roma

Lorenzo Pellegrini

There's something about a Roman wearing the Roma shirt, isn't there?

Francesco Totti and Daniele De Rossi are two other names that immediately spring to mind, while Alberto Aquilani and Alessandro Florenzi have also represented their home-town club with distinction.

Pellegrini is the latest star to emerge from the eternal city. He joined Roma's academy in 2007 and made his first team debut in 2015 at the age of just 18. After a two-year spell at fellow Serie A outfit Sassuolo, he was re-signed by I Giallorossi - for a fee of €10m.


There's a special bond between the Roma supporters and Roman players. It's a great source of pride for a club that have only celebrated three league titles in their 92-year history, with much of their success homegrown.

Despite interest from elsewhere, Pellegrini has spoken of his pride in representing the club and the city. In an interview with DAZN (via Roma's official website) last season, he said: "I will never get tired of saying it: playing here, for a boy born in Rome, is something that gives me both great pride and a feeling of responsibility.

"When you go out there on the pitch it is like you are also representing your entire family, who all grew up wearing these colours."


He Can Play Anywhere in Midfield

Gabriele Maltinti/GettyImages

A key part of Pellegrini's importance to his club is his versatility. He played at centre-back in his youth, but his vision, technical skills and energetic nature meant that he was a natural in the centre of midfield. 

He can be deployed as a Mezzala, as well as a free roaming Trequartista. His defensive background means that he's an excellent ball winner who can easily adjust to the role of defensive midfielder, while his eye for goal means that he can be a threat in the attacking third of the pitch as well.

An enforced change of role early in his Roma return reaped an instant reward, as he chipped in with a goal during a 3-1 derby win over Lazio. Speaking of his position change, he told Radio Roma:"It was a different role for me, but there are a lot of similarities with the Mezzala position. 

"Playing as the Trequartista means you have a bit more freedom to get involved, and can be a bit more varied in the defensive phase to. I like playing there. Every role has its different demands, but I like playing in that spot – I did it at Sassuolo at times and it was good.”


He's a Wanted Man

Gabriele Maltinti/GettyImages

His form for Roma has attracted a lot of interest from across Europe. After turning down Juventus and AC Milan to re-join Roma in 2017, he's impressed in his 70 appearances for I Giallorossi - but alarmingly, his contract has a release clause of just €30m.


Among those tracking the young star are rumoured to be Manchester United, along with north London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham, as well as Antonio Conte's Inter. 

It's expected that he'll be named vice-captain of Roma this summer - something he has described in the past as a "huge responsibility". However, with Roma's well documented financial issues it's a possibility that the club may want to cash in should an offer be made. 


He Has Represented Italy at Various Youth Levels

Claudio Villa/GettyImages

After two impressive seasons at Sassuolo, he was called up by the senior Italy side - making his debut in an 8-0 friendly victory over San Marino in May 2017. 


A month later he made his competitive debut against Liechtenstein, during Italy's ill-fated World Cup 2018 qualification campaign.


Those appearances follow a string of appearances at various levels, including two Under-21 European Championships. Pellegrini is among the current crop of Italy's rising stars, and has previously shown his class at tournament level - scoring a bicycle kick against Denmark a couple of years ago.

After this summer, Pellegrini will be back with the senior side - where he could have a long and prosperous future alongside a raft of emerging talents.


He's Part of Italy's New 'Golden' Generation

Marco Luzzani/GettyImages

When people discuss Serie A players they usually hark back to the Italian game's 90s heyday - dominated by the likes of Roberto Baggio, Gabriel Batistuta, Filippo Inzaghi, Franco Baresi, Alessandro Del Piero and co.


Serie A's 'decline' has been well documented, however there is an exciting new crop of Italian players who could make a huge impact on world football - and Pellegrini can certainly be included in this group of players. 

Alongside the likes of Federico Chiesa, Nicolo Zaniolo, Moise Kean, Nicolo Barella, Sandro Tonali, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Patrick Cutrone among others, Italy's future lies in the palms of exciting hands - time will tell whether these wonderkids can elevate Italy back to the top of world football.

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