Daniele De Rossi says he planned to leave Roma this summer but he could not face the prospect of joining another Italian club.
The midfielder is now Roma’s longest serving player following the retirement of Francesco Totti but De Rossi was open to a new challenge this summer.
However, it is believed the biggest offer came from Inter Milan – a prospect the 34-year-old could not face so he agreed a one-year contract extension.
De Rossi told Corriere dello Sport: “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.
“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.”
Totti received a hero’s send off in May when he finally hung up his boots, and while De Rossi would enjoy a similar farewell, he still has ambitions of playing abroad.
He said: “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.
“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.”