There is something very special about players who have previously had career threatening injuries. It is as if they play with freedom, having before been in limbo, knowing all could be lost. There is a sense of great enjoyment and privilege in the way they stroke the ball around the pitch, take in the atmosphere before a match and relish every goal. They know how lucky they are and the fans in turn appreciate this as it lowers the boundaries between them and the footballer whom has himself come so close to being an observer. They feel a little closer, a bit more human, they have been on the fringe, yet now find themselves in the heart of the action.
This can be said of Giuseppe Rossi who has been firing on all cylinders so far this season, currently top scorer in Serie A, he is now attracting attention from a host of clubs across Europe. The best path for him to force himself into the Italian World Cup squad however must be to continue to wear the purple of Fiorentina, and keep turning in the scintillating performances that have seen the media link him with a move away from the Viola. Rossi is flourishing playing alongside the also impressive Borja Valero, whom never quite cut it during his spell at West Brom, but now lights up stadiums across Italy. Rossi has notched up twelve goals in fifteen appearances so far this campaign, which is a clue to the growing interest in the rejuvenated striker.
There was a big void to fill with the departure of exciting Montenegro prospect Jovetic to Manchester City in the summer, but Rossi has stepped up to the plate. Coming to Serie A having spent five and a half years at Villarreal in January of this year, he has begun to repay the faith placed in him by the club. It was a risky move on the part of Fiorentina buying an unfit striker, much like Manchester United did with Van Nistelrooy, and they can only hope this move matches the magic of that. Ironically Rossi scored his debut goal for Manchester United having replaced Ruud against Sunderland in 2005.
The highlight of his time in Florence so far has to be the hat trick against Juventus which saw the Old Lady collapse to a defeat in Florence for the first time in fifteen years, the stuff of dreams. It is this sort of match that warms the heart, a tale of newly invigorated Rossi leading the club who placed so much trust in his ability, to a mammoth and historic win. His range of passing and cool finishing has seen him establish himself as a firm favourite with the locals. His calm and calculated penalties also mark him out as having a strong mentality, able to finish in a high pressure environment. At the age of twenty six, his best years are still very much ahead of him and having lost out on a lot of playing time due to two anterior cruciate ligament injuries, he has a great deal of hunger about his play, as though he cherishes every moment he gets. There is a lot of his game that is in the mould of the in form Sergio Aguero, as Rossi is a complete striker who can also play from deep, has pace and vision to find team mates, alongside a very healthy goal tally.
Remaining fit could be decisive, with Rossi scoring for Italy against Nigeria in a recent friendly, but unluckily missing out on the following game with Germany due to tonsillitis, in what would could have been a mouth-watering fixture for him, a chance to show he is ready to perform at the highest level. He has goals to his name against some of Europe’s big guns including Atletico Madrid, Valencia and the aforementioned Juventus to name a few, showing he can deliver on the big occasion. Prandelli is very much aware of his ability and if the form of Osvaldo at Southampton continues to dwindle there is every chance Rossi will be at the World Cup.
There is a very exciting potential future for the Italian placing himself in the shop window for a huge team to come and offer him Champions League football, a million miles away from the solitary regime of recovery. Perhaps another crack at the Premier League would suit him, and he could emulate the success of Balotelli in becoming a cult figure in England, but for all the right reasons on the pitch. Fiorentina could fill their pockets with the rather princely buy-out clause in his contract, but there is nothing to say that the Viola won’t keep hold of him in their quest to break into a Champions League spot. He already holds a place in the fans hearts for his endeavours against Juve and with his manager, Vincenzo Montella singing his praises, and the opportunity to work alongside players such as Mario Gomez, perhaps there is no better location for Rossi than Florence, where he is flourishing.
What do you think of Giuseppe Rossi? Drop in a comment below and let us know.
This was a guest piece by James Roberts. Follow him on Twitter @JimmyRoberts1
- Blue through and through- The new generation of academy products at Manchester City - September 19, 2014
- Manchester City allowing fans to get closer to the action than ever before - February 24, 2014
- The Final Frontier: Technology in Football - January 21, 2014