The 36-year-old only joined the Argentine side last summer but has decided to hang up his boots for good

Former Italy midfielder Daniele De Rossi has announced his retirement from football at the age of 36, just six months after signing a one-year deal with Boca Juniors.

The midfielder says the decision is not due to injury, but a desire to be closer to his family back home in Italy.

“I don’t have any health-related issues, I have the need to be with my daughter. They miss me, and I miss them,” De Rossi said at a news conference.

“I had the pleasure of working with the new board. They tried to convince me to stay but the decision was set. They asked me to think about this for a few days.

“The board offered me their help. But I don’t need help. I need to go back home. I’m not only saying goodbye to a club that’s in my heart, I’m saying goodbye to football, it’s my world.

“I dont want to get into details. I’ve already explained it well. My oldest daughter was the only one to stay in Italy. She’s living well, she’s not in danger, she just needs her father.

“Here in Argentina we’re very far [away]. If I were elsewhere in Europe, I would be an hour away.”

De Rossi made the high-profile move to Buenos Aires in July and marked his competitive debut with a goal against Almagro in the Copa Argentina the following month.

However, he has been restricted to just five further appearances for the club since, his cause not helped by injuries including a hamstring strain picked up against Boca’s great rivals River Plate in September.

Despite his premature departure, De Rossi insists he has no regrets about the move and will always hold the club dear.

“You guys know how the Boca fanbase is, what La Bombonera is, I’m leaving a piece of my heart here,” he added.

“I will continue to be a part of Boca. Perhaps destiny (will) bring us together once again. I will continue to watch Boca. The people I’ve met here have been magical, I will never forget this experience.

“This decision wasn’t made from one day to the next, this decision was made a while ago.”

Prior to his move to Argentina, De Rossi had spent his entire playing career at boyhood club Roma, where he made 616 appearances for the Serie A outfit over 18 years.

He helped the club to Coppa Italia success in 2007 and 2008, as well as being named Serie A Footballer of the Year in 2009.

The midfielder bade an emotional farewell to Roma at the end of the 2018-19 season following the expiry of his contract, penning an open letter thanking everyone at the club and ‘every Roma fan’ for their support over the years.

As well as his loyal service at Roma, De Rossi also won 117 caps for Italy and was the youngest member of the Azzurri squad that won the World Cup in Germany in 2006.

And despite bringing the curtain down on his playing career, De Rossi is unlikely to be leaving football for good after admitting he hopes to move into management.

“I have the dream of becoming a head coach,” he said. “I want to study for that. I’ll always be close to football, football is my life.”

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