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Giuseppe Rossi - The World Class Goalscorer Looking To Shake Off The Ghosts Of Injuries Past

Monday 12th May 2014
"I'm here to make an impression and give 100% for the club" he said. It was August 2006 and 19 year old Italian striker Giuseppe Rossi signed for Newcastle United on a six month loan from Manchester United. It was this talented youngster's chance to show English football what he could do, with a keen eyed Sir Alex Ferguson watching on. He played eleven league games with no goals, with his only mark coming in a League Cup tie against Portsmouth.

It's safe to say that his time on Tyneside wasn't the watershed moment that he had hoped it would be. He trudged back to Old Trafford having failed to make an impression on the ultimate cut and dry institution. He was then almost immediately shipped back to his homeland of sorts, having being born in New Jersey, to Parma where he was once a youth player, before being sold to Villarreal, fresh off the back of a UEFA Champions League semi final appearance the previous season, in the summer of 2007 for €10million.

It was now his job to prove his former club and manager wrong in La Liga. He was only 21, time was on his side to fulfill his potential as one of European football's golden boys.

He developed at a pace that wasn't quite at the desired rate, with 12 goals in his first season, including three in the Champions League. His world exploded in 2010-11, the world sat up as he scored 32 goals to help his club continue to be one of the closest challengers to Real Madrid and Barcelona, securing yet another season among the continent's elite. He was then and only then known as "the one who got away". Not for the first time, or the last, Ferguson had to answer the rather fickle criticism that came his way.

The year that was to follow, however, couldn't have been predicted, and it couldn't have gone worse for both "The Yellow Submarine" or Rossi himself. Juan Carlos Garrido's men were knocked out of the Champions League with a whimper, accumulating a solitary point in six games, while a serious knee injury ruled their talisman out for the rest of the season. That wasn't half of the story though as Garrido lost his job and, unbelievably, Villarreal lost their place in La Liga.

There were no prizes for guessing the common theme when the inquest of the disastrous season began. It was widely regarded that Rossi's injury was the main reason for one of Spanish football's recent success stories' relegation to the Segunda Division. The injury re-occurred in April of that season, meaning that any talk of a summer move was dashed.

It was not until the following January that the move finally happened. Amid reported interest from Italy, Spain and England, some would say his move to Fiorentina was underwhelming, but he picked up where he left off before his injury ravaged spell, scoring goals and becoming the main man for La Viola, as they attempted to make big strides under Vincenzo Montella.

Las summer's signing of Mario Gomez was designed to give Fiorentina the firepower to make a push for the Serie A title, but injuries yet again became a hindrance, both to the German and later to Rossi, whose World Cup hopes suddenly became under threat thanks to yet another serious knee injury. All this in a season where he was the league's top scorer.

He's once again battled back to once again figure in Cesare Prandelli's summer plans. The hope is that Rossi will form a partnership with Mario Balotelli to fire the Azzurri to a fifth title. They'd dearly love to equal Brazil's record in the South American's own back yard and with Rossi, Balotelli and the small matter of Torino's Ciro Immobile in and around selection, bet against it at your peril.

Italy are a tournament team, and with the injury-prone battler who proved Fergie wrong, anything is possible.
Harry De Cosemo
19 years old, Newcastle season ticket holder. European football enthusiast and aspiring football writer. Currently doing a Journalism degree at Teesside University. You can follow me on Twitter: @harrydecosemo

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