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Soccer-Totti jeered, De Rossi off in dismal night for Roma stalwarts

Reuters

Jan 5 (Reuters) - Francesco Totti was left with on egg on his face after his attempts to wind up Juventus backfired and Daniele De Rossi was sent off for another loss of temper on a dismal night for AS Roma's stalwarts on Sunday.

Roma captain Totti, in a remarkable 22nd season at his only club, had to endure a deafening chorus of jeers from the Juventus stadium when he was substituted in the 72nd minute after an ineffectual display in his side's 3-0 defeat.

Totti set up an early chance for Adem Ljajic with an excellent through ball, but after that made little headway against the Juventus defence as his team enjoyed plenty of possession but failed to create openings.

He over-hit several free kicks and corners and seemed to be the only person who was surprised when he was replaced. That delighted the home crowd who reacted in predictable fashion after Totti's efforts to stir up Juventus.

In an interview last week, he had largely praised his opponents but then added that "they tend to get a little bit of help", a remark described by Juventus coach Antonio Conte as "pub-talk provocation".

Totti, however, was unrepentant, telling Sky Sports Italia in a pre-match interview: "Everyone is free to say what they want. I expressed my thoughts. It's their problem if they got upset."

Team mate De Rossi, another one-club player who made his debut in 2001, is set to get the captain's armband when Totti retires, a situation which has earned him the nickname "Captain Future".

De Rossi, 30, was handed the armband on Sunday when Totti went off but wore it for only three minutes before being dismissed for a reckless two-footed lunge on Giorgio Chiellini near the byline.

Such incidents have been all too frequent for De Rossi, marring the career of a player who otherwise is widely admired as being a complete midfielder and who became one of Italy's highest-paid players when he renewed his contract last season.

The most notorious incident came at the 2006 World Cup when De Rossi was sent off in the match against the United States for elbowing Brian McBride, leaving the forward with blood gushing from his forehead and needing three stitches.

In the last two years, De Rossi has twice fallen foul of Italy coach Cesare Prandelli's strict code of ethics and been dropped because of his behaviour in club matches, the latter in 2012 when he was left out after punching Lazio's Stefano Mauri during a derby.

Sunday's effort could well earn De Rossi an unwanted hat-trick when Prandelli announces his next squad for the friendly against Spain in early March. (Writing by Brian Homewood in Berne, editing by Ed Osmond) (Brian.homewood@thomsonreuters.com) Reuters Messaging: brian.homewood.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net. To sign up for our Global Sports Forum chatroom, click on https://forms.thomsonreuters.com/global_sports_forum

(Reporting by Brian Homewood)

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