Finally healthy, Giuseppi Rossi leads Serie A with nine goals for Fiorentina. (Gabriele Maltinti/Getty Images)
New Jersey-born and -bred striker Giuseppe Rossi missed nearly two years with knee injuries, but he is a man possessed these days for Fiorentina, where he leads the Italian league with nine goals in 10 games.
I spoke to Rossi this week, and he told me he’s excited about the possibility of playing in his first World Cup for Italy, but he’s focusing on not looking too far ahead. Rossi also called his recent hat-trick and come-from-behind 4-2 victory against Juventus the best moment he has ever had on a soccer field.
“I’m going to have to put that up top,” he told me, “because it’s something that players dream about, especially being here in Florence and playing against your archrival, Juventus. People in the stands were crying after the game as if we won the Champions League.”
The Italian league has more buzz in the U.S. this season, not least because the games have been entertaining and producing more goals than we’re accustomed to seeing in Serie A.
“I think the level of play, maybe more technically than tactically, got better,” Rossi said. “The players that were brought in probably made it a little better. I think it’s a positive, because the past few years the Italian league hasn’t been as nice to watch as the other leagues probably. You’ve seen how Germany has been taking over and how England has been the league to watch. I’m glad Italy is slowly becoming nicer to watch, and I think with time it’s going to get even better.”
Rossi said he’s grateful to his physical therapist and to his surgeon for getting him back on the field, and he recently got recalled to the Italian national team. Right now he’s looking like the buy of the season in Italy for Fiorentina.
“I feel like I’m slowly getting back to it,” Rossi said when asked if he’s back to where he was pre-injuries. “After Mario Gómez got injured, I’m starting to play all by myself up top. I’m more comfortable with another striker at my side, but hopefully Mario will be back, and by having an extra player at my side that’s when I’ll probably feel more like the old me where I’ll be playing the same way I used to before I got injured.”
It’s a great comeback story for a player whose career was in some doubt just a year ago.