Roma captain Daniele De Rossi has revealed that he would have left the Serie A club last summer if he had received a suitable offer.
De Rossi has spent his entire footballing career at Stadio Olimpico and the 34-year-old is their longest-serving player following the departure of club legend Francesco Totti.
But the World Cup-winning midfielder said that an attractive offer from a big European or MLS club in the United States could have swayed him not to sign a new two-year contract in May.
"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," De Rossi told Corriere dello Sport on Saturday.
De Rossi, who took over as captain after Totti's departure, had said at the time that not signing a new contract would have been too "big a blow" for the club.
"I always thought it would 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," he continued.
"It'd be wonderful to experience such an intense salute with the fans. I don't know when and I don't know how.
"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 and are a tough slog. Thank God, I am physically having the best seasons of my career, but the pressure is often excessive here.
"I think I would, and 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.
"The biggest offer on the table was from another Italian club (believed to be Inter Milan).
"However, my heart and love won out: I couldn?t betray the city and the fans."
© 2017 AFP