De Rossi voices support for Benatia
Daniele De Rossi has defended Roma teammate Medhi Benatia after he criticised the Giallorossi for making him an "unacceptable" contract offer.
Benatia has been reproached by supporters for trying to force an exit -- with Barcelona and Manchester City reportedly interested -- and the defender accused the Serie A club of disrespecting him by only offering slightly improved terms.
The former Udinese player claims he turned down better offers elsewhere to move to Roma last summer on the condition that he would be rewarded in the event of qualification for the Champions League.
The Giallorossi secured their place in the competition by finishing second in Serie A last season, but Benatia says the accomplishment has not been acknowledged like he hoped it would be.
According to De Rossi, Benatia is right to feel hard done by given the contribution he made last term, while he feels his teammate does not deserve to be victimised by the club's fans.
"Benatia gave more to Roma than us Romani," De Rossi told a news conference while on international duty with Italy.
"I was also bothered by transfer rumours last year, but yesterday [director of sport Walter] Sabatini spoke about Benatia as a person and a professional, highlighting his performances during the season and this is more important than the transfer stories which can happen to everybody.
"Obviously any decision he takes will be his and Roma's, but if Benatia does stay then nobody, starting with the fans, should take a dim view of him. You can only learn from him for the desire, sacrifice and seriousness he shows."
Sabatini placed a 61 million euro price tag on the 27-year-old at the weekend, suggesting that the player's remarks had been lost in translation and that he was not trying to leave the club.
Benatia still has four years left to run on the contract he signed after joining from Udinese last summer.