Giuseppe Rossi finds redemption and rebirth at Fiorentina.

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  • Striker has scored 11 goals in 12 appearances this season.
  • Missed 16 months of action with anterior cruciate ligament injury during time with Villarreal.

There has never been any doubt over the talent or attacking prowess of Giuseppe Rossi however, for a while it looked as though his name would be added to the long list of promising footballers whose career was ransacked by injury.

Rossi never quite made it at Manchester United despite two loan spells at Newcastle United and Parma aimed at gaining first-team experience. He was subsequently shipped off to Villarreal where he established himself as a prolific marksman for the Yellow Submarine in five years. Unfortunately for the Italian international, the bulk of his final two years with the club were spent nursing an anterior cruciate ligament injury that forced him to watch his club’s unsuccessful relegation battle from the stands. It was a difficult time in the striker’s career, especially after a tremendous breakthrough season in the 10/11 campaign where he smashed in 32 goals in 56 appearances.

Since shaking off the injury and joining Fiorentina, however, he has been reborn and is enjoying some of the best form of his career whilst helping his side to fifth in the Serie A standings. The focus for Fiorentina is to maintain their push for a European spot, something which would vault Rossi into the radar of some of Europe’s most illustrious clubs. Playing Champions League football could have been a reality this season for the 26-year old though as he revealed that he turned down the chance to move to rivals Napoli, according to the player’s agent, Federico Pastorello.

“There was interest in Giuseppe from Naples,” Pastorello told Radio Kiss Kiss Napoli. “He could have went there but instead he wanted to evaluate all of the offers because joining Fiorentina was not purely an economic issue.

“Simply, Fiorentina showed great interest in signing him and they wanted to focus on Giuseppe and put their faith in him at a difficult time for the player and that was obviously greatly appreciated by a player who is now very much repaying the faith that was shown in him.”

Perhaps the addition of Gonzalo Higuain to the Napoli ranks forced Rossi to consider a transfer that would present more regular first-team football, something Rossi had craved during his time on the sidelines. Napoli had just appointed Rafael Benetiz following the departure of Walter Mazzarri to Internazionale and after tactical adjudications by Rossi and his agent, it was concluded that the striker would fit more comfortably into the innovative 3-5-2 formation fashioned by Vincenzo Montella at Fiorentina as opposed to Benetiz’s favoured 4-2-3-1. The competition of Higuain and Jose Callejon was perhaps a decisive factor in the forward’s switch to Fiorentina. Charged with the responsibility of adding goals to the team following Stefan Jovertic’s high-profile departure to Manchester City, Rossi has proven himself not only as the man for Fiorentina, but has once again staked his claim for a starting berth in the national side. Rossi will miss the Azzurri’s clash with Germany on Friday due to tonsilitis, but he has thrust himself back into the thinking of Cesare Prandelli and provided him with a fresh professional decision to make regarding strikers considering Alberto Gilardino, Mario Balotelli, Pablo Osvaldo and Lorenzo Insigne.

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Rossi’s return to form has afforded Prandelli a selection headache for Italy up front.

Dependence on Rossi’s goalscoring attributes were heightened with an injury to summer recruit, Mario Gomez, but an impressive return in the league puts him three ahead of Torino’s Alessio Cerci and his leading tally has elicited praise from Gomez who is itching to create a formidable partnership with him to spearhead Fiorentina’s attack. “I get on very well with Rossi and he is an extraordinary player. He was just unlucky with injuries, but he’s one of the greatest strikers in the world,” the German told Football Italia.

The former Manchester United player has proven to be one of the highlights of the Serie A season and his rebirth may prompt interest from several high-profile European clubs but the players seems focused and committed to helping a club that is close to his heart re-enter the circle of Europe’s best. It’s inspiring to see talented players return from potentially career-ending injury setbacks to ensure normal service is resumed; where Rossi’s resurgence takes the Gigliati is yet to be determined, but with Gomez returning and a maintenance of his current goalscoring exploits, Rossi and co. may be heading for great things once again.

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About Matt Gault

Matt is a long-term These Football Times writer and co-author of A Tale of One City, Football's Fleeting Fraternity, The Academy Way and Masterminds. He supports Manchester United but also follows the fortunes of FK Qarabag in Azerbaijan. Based in Belfast, he is interested in the relationship between politics and football and rebellious footballers. Has been featured on The Guardian, FourFourTwo, WorldSoccer.com, BBC, Daily Mail and Huffington Post. He is also the Editor of SquareEyed.tv (http://www.squareeyed.tv/), covering the world of movies, TV and culture. Follow SquareEyed on Twitter @SquareEyed_tv and like us on Facebook! Follow Matt on Twitter @MattGault11
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