The 30-year-old, who has played an important role in the senior Azzurri squad since 2004, admitted that appearing for his country only became his main goal once he started his professional footballing career in 2001.
De Rossi spoke to So Foot about how his feelings for the Italian national team have changed over the years, while also commenting on his future with the Italy squad.
“I only really paid any attention when there was a World Cup or European Championship. I never looked at the qualifiers or anything like that.
“I was only interested in Roma, the Giallorossi was my life. But when you grow up and become a player, Italy is the goal.
“I was 17 and came from the rooms at Coverciano with the photos of great players in that blue shirt.
“Once you make your debut, you really get to understand what it feels like to play.