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Argentina has a passion that Italy cannot match, says De Rossi

Daniele De Rossi said playing for Boca Juniors showed him Argentina has a passion for football that Italy cannot match, describing the club's La Bombonera stadium as "absurd and sensational".

The 36-year-old, who retired from football in January, opened up about the experience of ending his career at Boca, whom he joined on a free transfer in July 2019 when his contract at Roma expired.

He made just five appearances for Boca in the Superliga before cancelling his contract and returning to Italy to be with his family early in the new year, but said he had no regrets about the move.

"I would need a whole quarantine to describe the emotions I experienced in those six months," the 2006 World Cup winner told Sky Sport.

"It is a unique place, very similar to Italy - more than we think, also because half of them are of Italian origin. They live on passion for anything, from food to music, to a passion for football.

"It's a championship that can be technically and tactically discussed, but in six months I haven't seen a player pulling back his leg or not giving 200 per cent."

De Rossi scored on his Boca debut, in a 1-1 draw and penalty shoot-out defeat to Almagro in the Copa Argentina.

In March it was announced he would receive a league winner's medal after Boca clinched the Superliga title, giving him an honour he failed to achieve in 18 years as a Roma player.

But it was the atmosphere at La Bombonera that De Rossi said he would treasure above all else.

"It is not about being a ruffian, which I don't like," he said. "But the most beautiful thing is what you see in the stands.

"It is a warmth that we no longer have in Italy: it is pure and selfless passion.

"La Bombonera is the most absurd and sensational stadium in the world. I wish all fans to be able to visit it during a Boca match.

"I feel privileged to have played there, even if it didn't last long."