Rossi dismisses reports of fitness problems
MILAN (AP) Giuseppe Rossi dismissed speculation Monday that he was omitted from Italy's World Cup squad because of concerns about his fitness.
Rossi only recently returned from a four-month layoff following his latest right knee injury but was included in Italy coach Cesare Prandelli's provisional 30-man squad.
The United States-born forward was one of six players cut - along with injured midfielder Riccardo Montolivo - from the final 23-man list on Sunday.
''Everyone says I'm not in shape: I dare them to ask anyone for the test results and those of the match. You'll be surprised,'' Rossi wrote in both English and Italian on Twitter on Monday.
The 27-year-old Rossi has struggled with a number of serious injuries in his career and will now miss a third straight major international tournament.
Rossi was also one of the final cuts for World Cup 2010 by then-coach Marcello Lippi, who said last week that he regretted that decision. He missed out on the European Championships in 2012 because of problems with his right knee.
Rossi led Serie A with 14 goals in 17 matches with Fiorentina this season until he reinjured his right knee in January, sidelining him for four months. He has not played a full 90 minutes since returning a month ago and occasionally appeared hesitant in Saturday's friendly against Ireland.
But Rossi sarcastically dismissed reports that fears about being injured again could affect his game.
''Getting tackle on? Scared? Makes me laugh. My decision making is faster than the defenders...'' Rossi continued on Twitter. ''Next time, like an amateur, I'll wait for my opponents to get tackled on. Just some things I wanted to clear up.
''Now the most important thing to do is root for Italy. Forza Azzurri!! (hash)fifthstar.''
''He's upset,'' Rossi's agent Andrea Pastorello said. ''He really cared about the World Cup in Brazil. He made enormous sacrifices for five months.''
He will now return home to New Jersey as Italy prepares to fly to Brazil.
''We won't cause a drama, Prandelli's decision will be calmly accepted,'' Pastorello added. ''The coach has the responsibility of making difficult decisions. We know that the reasons aren't technical ones.''
Italy opens its World Cup campaign against England in Group D on June 14 and then faces Costa Rica on June 20 and Uruguay on June 24.